By ANGUS REID INSTITUTE
March 11, 2022 – As Canadians hold onto hope that COVID-19 case totals will continue to trend downward, many are looking forward to a less stressful time in their lives.
What began as weeks of pandemic challenges turned into months of anxiety and fatigue and depression, and then years.
Indeed, a new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute in partnership with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation finds the period since March 2020 has taken a considerable toll on both the physical and mental health of Canadians – a trend that affects people across the spectrum of age, gender, education, and other demographic factors, but is worse among women than men
Overall, half of Canadians (54%) say their mental health has worsened over the past two years, while one-in-three say it has not changed greatly either way (33%) and one-in-eight (12%) say they feel better mentally now than when the pandemic began.
Women between the ages of 18 and 54 fare worst. Three-in-five 18- to 34-year-old women (60%) say their mental health has worsened, while 63 per cent of those 35 to 54 note the same.
Physically, the story is similar. With gyms periodically closed and Canadian winters keeping many indoors, most Canadians report that the pandemic has negatively impacted their physical health.
Slightly higher numbers say their physical health has improved (17% physical versus 12% mental), led by three-in-ten younger men (29%) and one-quarter of younger women (24%). Nonetheless, at least 48 per cent of all age and gender combinations say their physical health has regressed since March 2020.
While one-in-three Canadians continue to grapple with recent mental health woes, many are taking some solace out of their opportunity to reflect over these past two years. Four-in-five (81%) say that this has been an opportunity to take stock of what really matters in their life as they enter the next phase.
More Key Findings:
- Canadians over the age of 64 are most likely to say that their mental health was not impacted over the past two years. Fully half say this (51%) compared to 35 per cent of 55- to 64-year-olds – the next largest group saying so. Only 17 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds voice this opinion.
- Relationships with friends and family have endured strain as well over the past two years. Two-in-five (39%) say that overall, their relationships have worsened over this period, while 14 per cent say they have improved.
- For most Canadians, their relationship with their partner stayed the same (37%) or improved (21%). For one-in-five (19%), however, that relationship deteriorated.