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Despite employers’ handling of pandemic, many considering career change: report

Mental health continues decline for eighth straight month


For the eighth straight month, Canadians mental health scores are in decline.

Worsening psychological health, an increase in employment dissatisfaction and extended mental strain continue to impact the mental well-being of Canadians, according to the latest Mental Health Index report released Dec. 9 by Morneau Shepell, the Toronto-based provider of total well-being, mental health and digital mental health services.

The Mental Health Index score is -11.1, a slight improvement from October’a -11.4. The score measures the improvement or decline in mental health from the pre-2020 benchmark of 75.

“We’re at a pivotal point in navigating the pandemic,” said Stephen Liptrap, president and chief executive officer of Morneau Shepell. “On one hand, the recent news about potentially life-saving vaccines being administered in the first half of next year should bring Canadians some encouragement. On the other hand, we are also approaching some of the most difficult months of the year for many Canadians as we approach the holidays and winter months.”

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“Information overload will continue to be an issue in the coming months. Employers cannot assume that all employees are feeling positive about the new pandemic-related developments and must continue to check in on their well-being to maintain a productive workforce.”

Results for the latest Mental Health Index report was conducted through an online survey in English and French from Oct. 25 to Nov. 5, with 3,000 respondents in Canada.

Analyzing their futures

The pandemic has created both challenges and opportunities for Canadians, leading many to consider the future of their personal and professional lives and, in some instances, a change in employment.

Overall, 24 per cent of respondents indicated that the pandemic has led them to consider a job or career change.

Thirty-six per cent of respondents under the age 40 said they are considering a job or career change, compared to only 15 per cent of respondents over the age of 50 who indicated the same.

Additionally, 20 per cent said they are undecided, suggesting a greater proportion of workers may be at risk of turnover.

Since the pandemic started almost one in five (18 per cent) indicated that their view of their employer worsened, while 12 per cent indicated that it became more positive.

The majority of employees (72 per cent) believe that their employers are handling health and safety well, compared to only seven per cent of employees that believe it has been poorly handled.

Similarly, 63 per cent of employees believe their employer is handling technology well, 56 per cent of employees believe their employer is handling flexible work hours well, and 50 per cent of employees believe their employer is handling work-from-home policies well.

“Employers have been faced with many challenges throughout the pandemic, with one of the most significant being their ability to sustain the relationship with employees as virtual communication replaces in-person conversations,” said Paula Allen, Morneau Shepell’s global leader of research and total well-being.

“Beyond the perception of how employers are handling the pandemic, we’re also seeing that some employees are viewing their employer more negatively than before the pandemic. This demonstrates that maintaining the status quo is not enough and employers need to take a proactive effort to prioritize communication and put the needs and well-being of employees first in everything they do.”

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