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HomeLeger Poll: The Relationship Between Mental Health and Substance Use During COVID-19Leger Poll – Summary Report 3: Spotlight On Income, Employment, Access

COVID-19 continues to have a serious impact on mental health and substance use among people in Canada while disproportionately affecting people on low incomes and those who have lost work.

A new report from the series of Leger polls commissioned by the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction highlights the disproportionate negative impact of the COVID-19-pandemic on people living on low incomes, who are unemployed, or who recently lost their jobs.  The survey of more than 8,500 people in Canada, also provides an update on how the pandemic has been impacting people with pre-existing substance use disorders or mental illness.

Key findings:

  • People with low income or who are unemployed/laid-off report higher rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and increased substance use.
  • 1 in 4 people with low income or who are unemployed/laid-off report finances as a top pandemic stress, compared to one in seven in the general population.
  • People with low income or who are unemployed/laid-off face more barriers in accessing mental health and substance use treatment services.
  • Most common barriers include: financial constraints, help is not readily available, not knowing how and where to get help, and long waitlists.