'We need to continue to provide Canadians with formal and informal supports to identify coping mechanisms'
A considerable percentage of Canadians are going through mental health issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has affected their alcohol intake patterns, according to a survey from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in collaboration with Delvinia, a research technology company.
In the past week, one in four (25.5 per cent) Canadians indicated they have moderate to severe anxiety, 23.2 per cent say they have felt lonely occasionally or most of the time and 20.4 per cent reported feeling depressed occasionally or most of the time.
Canadians who have lost their job or are no longer working because of COVID-19 are more likely to have moderate to severe anxiety levels (33.7 per cent) compared to other groups (21.8 per cent). They are also more likely to report feeling lonely (30.8 per cent) compared to other groups (21.6 per cent), found the survey of 1,005 Canadians between May 8 and 12, 2020.
People who have a job that exposes them to a high risk of COVID-19 are more also likely to have high levels of anxiety compared to those with lower risk jobs (32.8 per cent versus 24.4 per cent respectively).
Women, those with children under the age of 18 living in the home and younger adults (aged 18-39) are all more likely to feel both depression and anxiety, found the survey.
With these mental health issues, 23.7 per cent of respondents reported engaging in binge drinking at least once in the past week, and those who are very worried about the impact of COVID-19 on their personal finances (27.7 per cent) are especially likely to engage in binge drinking.
"It's important for Canadians to monitor their alcohol consumption at this time of increased stress and anxiety," says Leslie Buckley, chief of addictions at CAMH. "These findings signal that we need to continue to provide Canadians with formal and informal supports to identify coping mechanisms."
A separate survey found that 56 per cent of Canadians say COVID-19 is having a negative impact on their mental health, and 60 per cent of them are not receiving treatment or social support.
Meanwhile, 63 per cent of Canadians are confident in their abilities to bounce back after the pandemic, according to another survey.