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 concept design for the spray park and playground in Pogadl Park. (Photo Courtesy of Canadian Recreation Solutions)
Sylvan Lake spray park tentatively scheduled to open next year

Sylvan Lake Town Council approved the tender of the spray park and playground in Pogadl Park

Alberta's chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says Albertans need to keep making safe choices to start bending the curve back down. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
One new COVID-19 death in Red Deer, 257 additional cases province-wide

Red Deer sits at 459 active cases of the virus

One of the oil paintings stolen from a season home near the boat launch on Kuusamo Krest. (Photo Submitted)
Sylvan Lake RCMP search for paintings stolen from vacation home

Three original paintings were reportedly stolen from a seasonal home

A lone skater practises his shot on a melting outdoor rink recently. As of March 2, all outdoor skating rinks, including the ones on the lake, are closed for the season. (Photo Submitted by Town of Sylvan Lake)
All outdoor skating rinks in Sylvan Lake closed for the season

The Town announced Tuesday morning the rinks on the lake were also closed due to the warm weather

A health-care worker looks at a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Palais de Congress site as Quebec begins mass vaccinations based on age across the province, Monday, March 1, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Nearly 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses arriving in Canada this week: Anand

Anita Anand says she’s received assurances from the vaccine manufacturer

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

hands
The call is out in Rimbey to sign on with a group that is all about building connections

‘Already, we are building a network where we can rely on each other and help each other out’

FILE - Dolly Parton arrives at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Grammy-winning singer, actor and humanitarian posted a video on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, of her singing just before getting her COVID-19 vaccine shot. Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee for coronavirus research. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
‘Vaccine, vaccine’: Dolly sings ‘Jolene’ rewrite before shot

The Grammy-winning legend turned 75 this year

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland speaks about the Fiscal update during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday November 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID-19: Wage and rent subsidies, lockdown support to be extended until June

Chrystia Freeland says now is not time to lower levels of support

Many rural seniors are having to travel a long way to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Stettler residents are being told to go to Red Deer, Drumheller or Camrose. (Black Press file photo).
Rural central Alberta seniors have to travel far to get vaccines

Stettler residents are being directed to Red Deer, Drumheller or Camrose clinics

Samantha Sharpe, 25, was stabbed to death at Sunchild First Nation on Dec. 12, 2018. Chelsey Lagrelle was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for manslaughter in a Red Deer courtroom on Tuesday. Photo contributed
Central Alberta woman sentenced to 4 1/2 years for stabbing friend to death in 2018

Chelsey Lagrelle earlier pleaded guilty to stabbing Samantha Sharpe during argument

Calgary police say they received 80 hate crime complaints between January and November 2020. (Pixabay)
‘Racism is a real problem:’ Muslim women fearful following attacks in Edmonton

So far in 2021, three of seven hate-crime-related investigations have involved Somali-Muslim women

Alberta Minister of Health Tyler Shandro speaks during a news conference in Calgary on May 29, 2020. Shandro says Alberta is considering whether to extend the time between COVID-19 vaccine shots to four months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta may follow B.C.’s lead on faster rollout of first COVID-19 dose

Tyler Shandro says a committee of COVID-19 experts is analyzing emerging data and a decision is coming

Most Read