CAMH: COVID-19 pandemic adversely affecting mental health of women and people with children

A mental health gender gap that was forged early in the COVID-19 pandemic has been reinforced, according to the latest survey by The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in collaboration the global research technology company Delvinia.

The survey of 1,003 adults, conducted between September 18 and 22 as elementary and high schools were reopening, reveals that women had higher levels of anxiety and loneliness than men, and parents of children under 18 had higher levels of depression compared to adults without children in this age group.

“There is concern that added stressors related to children returning to school may be reflected in the finding,” said Dr. Hayley Hamilton, Senior Scientist at the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research at CAMH. “More research is needed and more supports are required for these populations.”

Key Survey Findings:

  • Nearly one quarter of women (24.3 per cent) indicated experiencing moderate to severe anxiety, significantly higher than the 17.9 per cent found among men. The same gender gap was evident in reports of loneliness (23.3 per cent for women and 17.3 per cent for men).
  • Overall, parents with children under 18 living in the home were more likely to report feeling depressed (29.1 per cent) than adults without children (18.9 per cent).
  • There was a significant increase among both men and women reporting fear about getting COVID-19, with one quarter (25.8 per cent) saying they were worried compared to 20.3 per cent in the last survey conducted in the summer.
  • Heavy episodic drinking remained a concern, with 28.5 per cent of men and 22.6 per cent of women reporting binge drinking.
  • One in five adult Canadians (20.3 per cent) reported seeking professional help for mental health concerns as a way of coping with the pandemic at least once during the week preceding the survey.

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