Poll shows majority of Ontarians believe mental health crisis will follow COVID-19

TORONTO – Seven out of 10 Ontarians (69 per cent) believe the province is headed for a “serious mental health crisis” as it emerges from this pandemic and nearly eight out of 10 (77 per cent) say more mental health supports will be necessary to help society, according to new poll results released today.

This data comes from the first of three polls Pollara Strategic Insights is conducting on behalf of Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario Division.

CMHA Ontario is looking to evaluate how Ontarians’ perceptions of their mental health are changing as they come out from underneath the pandemic. Two more surveys will follow in the coming months as restrictions loosen around COVID-19 and the economy continues to re-open.

Pollara’s research shows that 79 per cent of people in the province worry about what the future will look like after the outbreak is over, 87 per cent are worried about the impact on the older generation, and 71 per cent are worried about the younger generation.

Nearly everyone (90 per cent) is concerned about COVID-19’s impact on the economy and 69 per cent of Ontarians are concerned about the impact the outbreak has on their personal finances.

One finding of note is that while 67 per cent of Ontarians are worrying about the mental health impact on family and friends, fewer Ontarians – 53 per cent – are concerned about their own mental health.

Pollara’s online research of 1,001 Ontario residents over 18 was conducted from April 16 to 23. It carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Additional findings include:

– three-fifths (58 per cent) believe the mental heath of themselves, those in their household (55 per cent) and friends and family outside their household (59 per cent) are negatively affected by the pandemic;

– people are more likely to feel their mental health (36 per cent) has worsened than their physical health (26 per cent) during the coronavirus outbreak.

– nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of Ontarians are consuming more substances such as alcohol, tobacco or cannabis;

– For example, 36 per cent of Ontarians say their diet has gotten worse, while 48 per cent say exercise habits have worsened;

– despite trying to make a daily routine, 59 per cent are finding it hard to be productive while in self-isolation. This is true of those who are currently employed and those not working;

– eight per cent have had to deal with themselves or friends and family testing positive, or losing a friend or family member to the virus;

– 69 per cent of Ontarians are concerned about catching the virus, while 70 per cent are concerned about losing family or friends;

– 40 per cent of respondents or an immediate family member have lost work hours or pay while nearly a third (28 per cent) have been laid off; and

– 65 per cent are concerned about the impact on students’ education. – CNW