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More mental health resilience during COVID-19 than previously thought, study suggests

March 9, 2023
The Canadian Press

Photo: nenetus/Adobe Stock
By Nicole Ireland

A new study suggests the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic took a relatively limited toll on global mental health.

Canadian researchers reviewed 137 studies from around the world that measured people’s overall mental health, as well as depression and anxiety levels, before the pandemic and then again during 2020.

They were surprised to find that there was minimal overall change at a population level.

Senior author Dr. Brett Thombs, a researcher at McGill University, says coverage of the pandemic has mostly focused on snapshots of people whose mental health has deteriorated and people have generalized that to the overall population.


He says the study, published in the BMJ, formerly known as the British Medical Journal, shows that many people — including some with existing mental health disorders — have been resilient during a time of crisis.

But it also shows groups of people who appear to have struggled more than others, including women.

Canadian Press health coverage receives support through a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. CP is solely responsible for this content.

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