A quarter (26 per cent) of Canadians indicated moderate to severe anxiety levels, 23 per cent said they felt lonely occasionally or most of the time in the past week and 20 per cent reported feeling depressed occasionally or most of the time in the past week, according to a new survey by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

The inaugural survey, conducted by global research technology company Delvinia between May 8 and 12, polled more than 1,000 Canadians aged 18 or older. It also found people with a job that exposes them to a high risk of the coronavirus were more likely to have high levels of anxiety compared to those in lower-risk jobs — 33 per cent compared to 24 per cent.

Changes to employment status are also affecting mental health. Those who have lost their job or are no longer working because of the pandemic are more likely to have moderate to severe anxiety levels (34 per cent) compared to other groups (22 per cent). They were also more likely to report feeling lonely (31 per cent) compared to other groups (22 per cent).

Read: Employees still in work with reduced salaries show lowest mental-health levels: survey

“CAMH regularly deploys surveys to understand the changing mental-health needs of the people we serve and it is particularly important for us to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians’ mental health and substance use patterns during this period,” said Hayley Hamilton, a senior scientist in CAMH’s institute for mental-health policy research, in a press release. “Data gathered to date shows that certain groups — including those that have so far borne social and economic burdens of this pandemic — are faring worse than others.”

The survey also asked respondents about their alcohol consumption patterns. Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of respondents reported engaging in binge drinking at least once in the past week, while those who are very worried about the impact of the coronavirus on their personal finances (28 per cent) were especially likely to engage in binge drinking.

“It’s important for Canadians to monitor their alcohol consumption at this time of increased stress and anxiety,” said Dr. Leslie Buckley, chief of addictions at CAMH, in the release. “These findings signal that we need to continue to provide Canadians with formal and informal supports to identify coping mechanisms.”

Read: Depression, alcohol addiction top conditions covered by employers: survey

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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