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

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

The CubicFarm System moves rows of leafy greens through a system calibrated to grow the perfect crop. (cubicfarms.com)
Veritcal farm company based in Pitt Meadows, Langley raises millions

The company has raised more than $15 million from investors

A woman uses her computer keyboard to type while surfing the internet in North Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Township of Langley says coding matters

Registration open for virtual codathon hosted in conjunction with the Intelligent Community Forum

The Fraser Valley Regional Library board of directors recently finalized its budget. (Black Press Media files)
Fraser Valley Regional Library budget not enough to keep up with booming population

Almost $5 million of books, DVDs, and ebooks to be purchased in 2021

A fuel leak at the Walnut Grove Community Centre resulted in fumes getting into Walnut Grove Secondary so the start of the school day was delayed as the building was ventilated on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021 (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
UPDATE: High school in North Langley shut down over fuel leak in nearby parking lot

Walnut Grove Secondary students were told instruction will be online for the remainder of the day

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. finds its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

The Delta Hospice Society operates the Harold & Veronica Savage Centre for Supportive Care (pictured) and the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner. (The Canadian Press photo)
Fraser Health to evict Delta Hospice Society, open new hospice beds next door

Health authority will serve DHS 30 days’ notice when service agreement expires Feb. 25

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Two toucans sit on tree at an unidentified zoo. (Pixabay.com)
BC SPCA calls for ban on exotic animal trade after 50 parrots, toucans pass through YVR

One toucan was found dead and several others were without food

Most Read