Mental health of Canadians declining

By The IJ Staff | October 07 2020 02:18PM

Photo: Freepik | tirachardz

Sixty-two per cent of Canadians who are employed, or have recently been laid off, rank their mental health as excellent or good, which is a decline from 66 per cent in 2019, according to the findings of a recent RBC Insurance survey. In terms of financial health, the survey found that only 45 per cent rank their financial health as excellent or good.

Insurance makes a difference

Interestingly, however, the survey also found that respondents who have insurance of any kind (private, group or a combination of both) seem to be faring better than those with no insurance, says RBC Insurance.

Working Canadians with insurance coverage are more likely to rank their mental health as excellent or good (65 per cent with insurance versus 55 per cent without insurance) and their financial health as excellent or good (48 per cent with insurance versus 36 per cent without insurance).

As the COVID-19 pandemic increasingly impacts working Canadians' mental health, the survey results point to a greater need for insurers to be there for their clients, says Julie Gaudry, Senior Director of Group Insurance at RBC Insurance. "The negative impacts on mental health is worrisome but workplace benefits and resources such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), wellness programs and virtual care or telemedicine can help support working Canadians wellbeing, including their mental and financial health."

Younger Canadians struggling most

The survey found that women and younger Canadians (aged 18-34) are the most likely to have seen their mental health negatively impacted. Only 58 per cent of women versus 67 per cent of men would rank their mental health as excellent or good. When it comes to age, 51 per cent of younger Canadians would rank their mental health as excellent or good compared to 72 per cent of those who are 55 and older and 60 per cent for those between the ages of 35-54.

When asked what working Canadians are doing to support their mental health, free options such as talking to friends or family (46 per cent), getting outside or going for a walk (46 per cent), and exercising, yoga or meditation (29 per cent) were the most common.

Use of virtual care

The survey also found a sharp increase year over year in the likelihood working Canadians would use virtual care options. Sixty-seven per cent said they would use video chat, web, or telephone-based health support to consult with a mental health practitioner (+17 points from 2019) and 60 per cent would use video/telephone counselling (+15 points from 2019).

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