Despair and suicidal feelings deepen as pandemic wears on

New national survey finds Canadians' mental health eroding TORONTO and VANCOUVER, BC, Dec. 3, 2020 /CNW/ -The second wave of the pandemic has intensified feelings of stress and anxiety, causing alarming levels of despair, suicidal thoughts and hopelessness in the Canadian population. This, according to the newest wave of data collected through a nationwide monitoring survey on the mental health impacts of COVID-19, released today by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in partnership with UBC researchers. Most people in Canada (71%) indicate they're worried about the second wave of the virus, with 58% worried about a loved one or family member dying, and only 21% feeling hopeful. As winter approaches, 40% of Canadians say their mental health has deteriorated since March, with the decline more pronounced in those who are unemployed (61%), those with a pre-existing mental health issue (61%), younger people aged 18-24 (60%), Indigenous peoples (54%), those identify as LGBTQ2+ (54%) and those with a disability (50%). Almost half of women (45%) and a third of men (34%) say their mental health has declined. "Cold weather, uncertainty, eroded social networks and restrictions on holiday gatherings are hitting at a time when people are already anxious, hopeless and fearful that things are going to get worse," says CMHA's National CEO, Margaret Eaton. "I am afraid that many people are in such despair that they can't see past it." Of great concern is the sharp increase in suicidality this fall, with 1 in 10 Canadians (10%) experiencing recent thoughts or feelings of suicide, up from six per cent in the spring and 2.5 per cent throughout pre-pandemic 2016. Suicidal thoughts and feelings are even higher in various subgroups of the population, including those who identify as LGBTQ2+ (28%), with existing mental illness or mental health issues (27%), with a disability (24%), aged 25-34 (21%) and 18-24 (19%) and who are Indigenous (20%).
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