How Canadians are prioritizing mental health after COVID-19

How Canadians are prioritizing mental health after COVID-19

The World Health Organization has declared that COVID-19 is no longer a global health emergency at a time when Canadians are trying to move back to pre-pandemic life, while finding ways to compensate for the effects of the pandemic era.

According to a new survey conducted by American Express Canada, 68 per cent of employed Canadians reported that taking care of their mental health has become more of a priority for them in the last year.

“The pandemic, globally, presented us with an extraordinary set of circumstances of which the impacts on mental health are still being felt,” Amex Canada’s vice-president of colleague experience Annette Kingsley told in an email interview.

“Over the last two-and-a-half years, many of us grappled with prolonged isolation and feelings of fear and uncertainty, and it may have forced many of us to confront aspects of our mental health that, for whatever reason, had been previously overlooked, untreated or now exacerbated as a result of extenuating circumstances.”

The survey results suggest there are barriers that prevent employed Canadians from seeking out counseling services, such as out-of-pocket expenses (40 per cent), the time commitment (29 per cent) and the difficult process of finding a counselor (29 per cent) cents).

The survey also found that 53 per cent of 730 employed Canadians involved in the survey said they would be more likely to use free on-site counseling services if they were offered by their workplace, while only 16 per cent stated their workplace currently offers this kind of support.

“With more of us returning to the office, we also feel it’s important for workplaces to support colleagues by embedding wellness into their daily work routines. It prompted us to offer free, on-site counseling services that eliminate common barriers to care, and give colleagues access to the support they need while at work in a confidential and private setting,” said Kingsley.

The survey was conducted ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs until May 7. In any given year, one in five people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness, according to University of British Columbia researchers.

Survey methodology:

The survey was conducted on behalf of American Express Canada between April 28 and May 1, 2023, among 730 members of the Maru Voice Canada online panel who identified as being employed full- or part-time.

Reporting for this story was paid for through The Afghan Journalists in Residence Project funded by Meta.

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