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LOCKDOWN LIFE: Mental Health Impacts of COVID-19 on Youth in Canada

What is this report about?

The purpose of this report is to outline the findings from the HEADSTRONG COVID-19 Survey to improve service programming and inform policy for diverse youth across Canada.

What have we learned so far?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had serious global economic and social impacts, and it continues to alter the lives of many people. Young people are particularly vulnerable to the disruptions the pandemic has caused, and many are being left behind in education, economic opportunities, health and well-being during a crucial stage of their development.

Impacts on Marginalized Youth

Marginalized youth are at particular risk of COVID-19 and its impacts. This category includes young refugees, youth living in rural areas, indigenous, racialized people and ethnic minority youth, young persons with disabilities, and young people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. Some youth may not have stable housing, so they cannot safely engage in home-based social distancing. Evidence suggests that school closures in particular can have adverse effects on students from low-income households because they may lack stable Internet access or the necessary devices to attend virtual classes. This may result in further stigma and discrimination against certain groups, which in turn could exclude them from accessing essential health and community services.

Who answered the HEADSTRONG survey?

In total, there were 137 youth who responded to the survey, ranging in age from 12 to 24 years (see Figure 2 below). Most of the respondents were between 14 to 18 years of age. In terms of geographical regions, most respondents were from Ontario (82%), followed by Alberta (7%), Quebec (4%), Saskatchewan (2%), British Columbia (1%) and unknown (4%).

Findings and Implications

The HEADSTRONG COVID-19 Survey findings are grouped into four main sections in this report: key challenges faced, coping strategies, communication methods used, and help-seeking behaviours of youth as well as a report summary.

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