The financial fallout from the Covid-19 outbreak is weighing on Canadians’ mental health and increasing food insecurity, according to new research from Statistics Canada.
The StatsCan study found that just over half (54%) of Canadians report they’ve enjoyed very good or excellent mental health during the pandemic.
However, results were closely related to the financial effects of the crisis.
Among those who faced a moderate to major impact on their ability to meet financial obligations, only 25% reported very good to excellent mental health.
Conversely, for those who hadn’t been significantly affected financially, over three-quarters (76%) reported very good or excellent mental health.
“The ability to meet financial obligations […] had a significant impact on Canadians’ mental health,” the study said.
StatsCan also found that certain demographic groups reported higher mental health impacts, including women, youth and people with underlying health conditions.
“For many Canadians, the challenges of physical distancing, the reduced ability to work or contribute to society, and pressures related to taking care of family in lockdown may lead to greater anxiety, loneliness and stress,” it said.
Additionally, the study found that approximately four in five Canadians were concerned about overloading the health system and about the health of vulnerable people.
In a separate study, StatsCan found an increase in food insecurity due to the financial effects of the pandemic.
Specifically, it reported that 14.6% of Canadian households experienced food insecurity — such as going hungry or running out of food — in April and early May, up from 10.5% in previous research.
It also found that 28.4% of Canadian workers who were laid off, or otherwise out of work due to Covid-19, reported food insecurity, compared with 10.7% of those still able to work.