A person stands under an umbrella while looking out at English Bay as heavy rain falls, in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A person stands under an umbrella while looking out at English Bay as heavy rain falls, in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Canadians struggling through the pandemic aren’t accessing online resources: study

A national survey led by researchers at UBC says that Canadians aren’t aware of virtual resources

Canadians who are struggling with their mental health during the pandemic aren’t using online resources that can offer support for their well-being, recent research from the University of B.C. has found.

A national survey led by researchers at UBC, with help from the Canadian Mental Health Association, says that Canadians aren’t aware of virtual resources offered to support them with improving their mental health.

Back in May, 65 per cent of 3,000 survey participants reported that they have experienced poor mental health during the pandemic. However, only two per cent reported accessing online mental health resources such as apps, websites, digital tools or other supports not involving direct contact with a mental health care provider.

Researchers found that some people did make more use of online mental health resources than others, but the numbers remained low across the board.

READ MORE: B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Margaret Eaton, Canadian Mental Health Association CEO, said in a statement that since the start of the pandemic, demand for mental health services has been up across the organization’s 330 locations nationwide.

“Online mental health supports are one evidence-based way that we can help people during this unusual, stressful time.”

Forty-two survey participants said they struggled to find resources to help with stress from COVID-19.

Researchers said that online resources work best for those suffering from mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety and depression. The survey responses suggest a mere two per cent of Canadians struggling with anxiety and stress have accessed virtual support networks.

ALSO READ: Clinicians worry pandemic is worsening youth mental health

Meanwhile, four per cent of respondents who have felt hopeless, depressed or panicked have utilized online support options.

Lead researcher and nursing professor Emily Jenkins said online resources are easily accessible – even being offered in various different languages.

“These programs are ideally positioned for the types of difficult experiences and emotions that we’re seeing during the pandemic,” said Jenkins.

Chris Richardson, a research associate at the School of Population and Public Health at UBC, said most of those accessing online options are doing so after being referred through their care provider.

Jenkins and Richardson are conducting further research to understand why use of these resources are so low, but they’ve already found that a lack of awareness is a major contributing factor.

“We see a lot of messaging out there about physical distancing, face masks and hand washing,” said Richardson.

“We really need to get more messages out to people about how they can support their mental health in a positive way as well.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

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

Just Posted

COVID
Red Deer down to 313 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta reports an additional 411 COVID-19 cases

Seniors in the 65-unit Piper Creek Lodge are among those waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta senior lodges anxiously waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations

“Should be at the front of the line, not the back of the line”

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Economists “cautiously hopeful” for economic recovery in Alberta

Charles St. Arnaud says Alberta’s recovery will rebound along with roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw acknowledged that Friday would be one year since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the province. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three more Red Deer COVID-19 deaths, 331 active cases in Alberta

Red Deer is down to 362 active cases of the virus

Caitlin Kraft, the sister of Jeffery Kraft, stands third from the left, holding a sign calling for the maximum sentence for Campbell, who is charged with manslaughter. (Photo by Paul Cowley)
UPDATED: Judge again rejects submission of 7-year sentence for slaying of Kraft

Tyler John Campbell charged with second-degree murder for December 2019 homicide

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A decommissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is suspending all of the licences held by an oil and gas producer with more than 2,200 wells and 2,100 pipelines after it failed to bring its operations into compliance. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta Energy Regulator suspends licences of oil and gas producer that owes $67M

The company is being asked to comply with past orders to clean up historic spills and contamination

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Pictured here is Stettler’s Jenner Smith with a guide dog from Aspen Service Dogs. An online auction will be running soon to help raise funds for Jenner to receive his very own service dog later this year. Jenner, who is four years old, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019. photo submitted
An online auction is planned to raise funds for a service dog for a Stettler family

Jenner Smith, four, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Most Read