"This won’t end when the last COVID-19 patient leaves the ICU."
If you've been struggling with your mental health lately you're not alone, according to new research from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
On Tuesday, January 25, CAMH released a report that found Canadians are experiencing the highest levels of anxiety, depression and loneliness since spring of 2020, which is when COVID-19 entered our collective lives for the first time.
One of the key findings from the research is that age plays a factor in these feelings, with Canadians between 18 and 39 years old reporting the highest levels of moderate to severe anxiety, loneliness and feelings of depression.
That's the highest out of any age group.
Gender played a role, too. Heightened anxiety, loneliness and feelings of depression increased significantly among women during the same period, but only slightly for men.
Mental illness and addiction affects a sizable portion of the population. A reminder that you do not have to face this battle alone. #BellLetsTalkpic.twitter.com/SZQjPnGeLu— CAMH (@CAMH) 1643173502
“These larger increases among women may reflect that they are often carrying a disproportionate burden, including imbalances in caregiving responsibilities and frontline work,” said Dr. Samantha Wells, who co-led the survey.
Other key findings include the fear of contracting COVID-19 doubling from about 14% to about 28%.
“I think for a lot of people, this wave feels different from the other waves, like the rug has been pulled out from under them after they thought the worst was over,” said CAMH psychiatrist Dr. David Gratzer.
He added that he's seeing more pessimism and less resilience among people than in the last few waves of the pandemic.
"Remember, we were already in a mental health crisis before the pandemic began, and this won’t end when the last COVID-19 patient leaves the ICU. For health policy makers, this is a long-term issue that needs to be addressed right now.”
In terms of looking after yourself, doctors in Ontario recently shared ten mental health tips that might help with the shift in mood that people experience at this time of year.
Some of their suggestions include taking a moment to breathe to "help you gain clarity on what is truly important," and to disconnect from social media to "help recharge your mind and engage in other activities."
If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression or mental health concerns, please reach out to a trusted peer, parent or health care professional. You can also contact the Crisis Services Canada helpline, which is available 24 hours a day to talk or consult additional resources. If you need immediate assistance please call 911 or go to your nearest hospital. Support is available.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.