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Pandemic continues to impact Canadians’ mental well-being: report

Morneau Shepell reveals decline for fifth consecutive month


A new report released today shows a consistent negative mental health score amongst Canadians for the fifth consecutive month.

Morneau Shepell, a provider of mental health and digital mental health services, today released its monthly Mental Health Index report.

The findings indicate that Canadians’ mental health continues to be affected by the impact of COVID-19, including concerns about a second wave, ongoing economic uncertainties, and the added concern of students returning to school.

The monthly survey was conducted through a bilingual online survey in late July, with 3,000 responses.

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The Mental Health Index score is currently -11. The score measures the improvement or decline in mental health from the pre-2020 benchmark of 75.

“The financial and economic impact of the pandemic can’t be ignored, however, there also needs to be more attention to the ongoing toll the pandemic is having on the mental well-being of Canadians,” said Stephen Liptrap, president and chief executive officer of Morneau Shepell.

“Canadians’ initial feelings of optimism as we started to reopen does not erase the impact of the pandemic. To avoid further declines, public health officials and all levels of government must take the necessary steps to provide support where it’s needed most and continue to put the mental health of Canadians first.”

Back-to-school anxieties heightened 

Safely reopening schools and getting children back into the classroom has been top-of-mind for parents, teachers and youth across the country in recent weeks.

Morneau Shepell’s index found the mental health scores of individuals with one (-15.2) or two (-13.0) children are significantly lower than those with none (-9.9). Surprisingly, individuals with a full house appear to have adapted well to the pandemic; a score of -8.6 was reported among those with three children or more.

The mental health of those working in the education sector declined to -11.6 from a score of -11.1 in July.

Post-secondary students have the largest drop of any group, decreasing from -23.7 to -28.5. Post-secondary students have also consistently had the lowest score of any group when compared to all industries across the country.

“September will be a particularly difficult month for Canadians, as they face another major change in routine and new challenges,” said Paula Allen, senior vice president of research, analytics and innovation at Morneau Shepell.

“As we navigate several uncertainties over the coming weeks, it’s critical that all Canadians continue to be accountable for their health, maintain open communication, and actively invest in their own mental well-being.”