March 10, 2022 – Mental Health Research Canada (MHRC) has released its 11th poll in its ongoing series of surveys on Canadians’ mental health since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This survey, conducted from February 15-22, 2022, represents a period where the impacts of the Omicron variant had begun to diminish, and the majority of eligible Canadians had received their COVID-19 vaccine booster. Nevertheless, although this recent study found that public concern about COVID-19 had reached its lowest levels, six-in-ten remain concerned and the levels of high anxiety and depression are unchanged.
“While we are emerging from this pandemic, we are in uncharted territory and Canadians’ mental health will need addressing for some time to come. Determining who and how many individuals will require interventions so they can recover, is a critical element of determining the successful path forward”, says Akela Peoples, CEO of Mental Health Research Canada.
Key findings include:
- Anxiety levels have not significantly changed since December 2021, indicating that the Omicron variant and related lockdowns had only a marginal impact on mental health. However, self-rated anxiety and depression levels remain higher than the beginning of the pandemic with 23% of Canadians indicating high anxiety and 15% indicating high depression.
- Concern around the continued threat of COVID-19 is at an all-time low, although still six-in-ten (59%) Canadians express concern. In contrast, those still struggling with anxiety or depression are in worse shape: Many (45%) of those who are indicating high self-rated levels of anxiety and depression are also showing symptoms of moderate to severe psychological distress on the Kessler 10 psychological distress scale.
- The majority of Canadians (68%) want either some (48%) or all (20%) public health measure to remain in place, primarily because “people are still being hospitalized or dying due to the virus”. The majority of those who want most or all of the restrictions to be lifted (38%) feel that “the virus is going to be around, so we need to learn to live with it” (76%).
These and other key findings are featured in both the summary report and full survey report – as well as an interactive, searchable data portal – are available at www.mhrc.ca. The online survey was conducted amongst a randomly-selected, reliable sample of N=3,512 adult Canadians from February 15-22, 2022, as part of MHRC’s ongoing series of surveys – “Mental Health in Crisis: How COVID-19 Is Impacting Canadians” – designed to capture Canadians’ perceptions of their levels of anxiety and depression to identify and evaluate factors that influence mental health.