Many restaurants have closed in response to COVID-19. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)

Young Canadians, hospitality workers bear the brunt of mental strain in 2020: report

A study by Morneau Shepell points to economic uncertainty in the pandemic as the cause for angst

The mental health of Canadians has undergone a steep decline and a slow recovery amid the turbulence of 2020, according to a recent report released by research company Morneau Shepell.

Comparing provinces, Alberta is the most anxiety-ridden, with B.C. close behind as the third most troubled in the country.

The study, which drew on data collected from 3,000 Canadians in an online survey, compared reported mental health to a benchmark set at the start of the year.

Economic uncertainty was singled out as the primary driver of an overall negative mental health score for Canadians generally, with younger Canadians and workers in the hospitality industry hit the hardest by not just the bite of the pandemic, but the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Morneau Shepell’s Paula Allen said, “Without question there are a few industries (that) have been more negatively impacted and seem to have a slower recovery.”

Suffering some of the worst mental health effects were Canadians in industries those associated with tourism and hospitality, reflecting the nature of months-long government-mandated limits on travel and eating out, with workers in those sectors returning consistently low scores.

The data cutting across age cohorts showed that Canadians between 20 and 29 are suffering the worst mental health declines in 2020 compared to the beginning of the year, while older Canadians are relatively laid-back by comparison.

Allen said that the report showed that the pandemic was primarily being seen as an economic destabilizer.

“The younger you are, the more it has impacted you from an economic point of view … one would think as you get older and approach a more vulnerable group from an infection point of view that you should be more anxious, but we’re not seeing that.”

Allen stressed the importance of taking on the uncertainty of 2020 in a coordinated way, saying that it wasn’t something that individuals can approach “one day at a time,” and getting out of the rut that is 2020 will take a lot of personal resilience, support from private companies looking after workers and government initiatives.

“(It’s) critically important for everyone to realize that we’re all in a position of risk. There is really no one that hasn’t been touched by the pandemic.”

Looking around Canada, the data revealed Alberta is the most anxious Canadian province as of July (-13.4) while the folks in Newfoundland and Labrador are relatively chipper at -4. British Columbians had a score of -10.5, the third-worst in the country.

“Manitoba in particular has seen extensive improvements between June and July,” said Allen, who explained that as a first-mover on mental health support, the province was reaping the benefits.

Allen was optimistic but cautious about the recovery of Canadians’ mental health, saying that while the country is still feeling blue at the same time scores were slowly improving, the scars of 2020 would continue well into the future.

“This is the health issue of our time. The potential for the mental health impact of the pandemic to outlast the impact of the actual virus is almost certain.”

Coronavirusmental health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

MP Damien Kurek said the recent Throne Speech lacked direction, leadership and clarity

‘It was vague, it was expensive and it’s very intrusive into provincial jurisdiction.’

Despite pandemic challenges, the Castor Golf Course has some reasons to celebrate their 2020 season

Projects in 2020 include renovations to the club house kitchen and repairs to the roof from last year’s hailstorm

Central zone down to 16 active COVID-19 cases

Alberta Health Services’ central zone is down to 16

COLUMN: The importance of treating yourself gently

‘Six months into this pandemic and I am starting to struggle. I am starting to be weary’

Central zone down to 19 active COVID-19 cases on Thursday

Provincially, 158 new COVID-19 cases were identified

Alberta’s top health official says province is not in a second wave of COVID-19

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday that Alberta had identified 158 new cases in the province

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $50 million Lotto Max jackpot

Jackpot for the next draw will grow to approximately $55 million

Wilkinson aims to be B.C. premier after cabinet role, working as doctor and lawyer

The B.C. election is Wilkinson’s first as the Liberal party leader

First Nations police services look to throne speech pledge for higher, stable funding

‘I won’t be happy until I hear two words: royal assent’

8 charged, $260K in drugs and cash seized in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Millet Agriplex to become a hub for indoor soccer

Wetaskiwin Soccer Club will be operating out of the Millet Agriplex this season.

‘We’re losing what makes the Parkland so distinctive,” conservation specialist says

The Lacombe district will lose two sites with provincial park status: JJ Collett and the Narrows

Sylvan Lake woman says Town’s response time to concerns isn’t enough

Glenda Jackman says it took almost a month for the Town to act on her complaint about a playground

Ermineskin Kindergarten has a confirmed case of COVID-19

The school has shut down and Cohort 2 is in self-isolation

Most Read