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Mental Health and Substance Use During COVID-19: Spotlight on Income, Employment, Access

COVID-19 continues to seriously impact mental health and substance levels, especially among people with low income or without work.

A new report from the series of Leger polls undertaken by the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction shows the disproportionate negative impact COVID-19 is having on people who live with low incomes or who are unemployed or recently lost their jobs.

The survey of more than 8,500 people in Canada also provides insights into the pandemic’s impact on those who have pre-existing substance use disorders or mental illness.

Key findings:

  • People with low income or who are unemployed/laid-off report increased substance use and higher rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation.
  • One in four people with low income or who were unemployed/laid-off said finances were a top pandemic stressor (compared to one in seven in the general population).
  • People with low income or who were unemployed/laid-off have faced more barriers in accessing mental health and substance use treatment services.
  • The most common barriers to services included financial constraints, not having readily available help, not knowing how and where to get help, and long wait-lists.

Other reports in this series

Mental Health and Substance Use During COVID-19: First Summary Report

Mental Health and Substance Use During COVID-19: Spotlight on Gender and Household Size

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