Canadians report worse mental health than before pandemic: Nanos survey

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By Brooklyn NeustaeterCTV News 

TORONTO -- Many Canadians say their mental health is worse than before the COVID-19 pandemic and have reported an increase in alcohol consumption, according to a new survey by Nanos Research.

The survey of 1,003 Canadians, which was commissioned by CTV News, found that two in five Canadians said that their mental health is currently worse than before the pandemic. The survey also found that Canadians reported a 20 per cent increase in alcohol consumption compared to before the pandemic.

According to the survey results, four in 10 Canadians said their mental health is now worse (16 per cent) or somewhat worse (24 per cent) than it was in April during the early stages of the pandemic. At that time, 10 per cent of respondents reported worse and 28 per cent reported somewhat worse mental health.

Just under half of the respondents said their mental health is about the same as it was prior to COVID-19, while one in 10 Canadians said their mental health is better (four per cent) or somewhat better (seven per cent). One per cent of those surveyed said they were unsure.

Those in Ontario and the Prairie provinces reported the greatest decrease in their mental health at 44.8 per cent and 43.5 per cent, respectively.

The survey found that respondents’ mental health had increased the most in Atlantic Canada (14.6 per cent) and British Columbia (13.8 per cent) during the pandemic.

According to the results, women reported a 44 per cent decrease in their mental health while men were more likely to report an increase in their overall mental well-being.

When it comes to alcohol consumption, 20 per cent of survey respondents said their alcohol consumption has increased in comparison to how much they were drinking before the pandemic.

The survey found that 13 per cent of Canadians said their alcohol consumption has decreased since the start of the pandemic while 67 per cent reported that it had stayed the same.

Increase in alcohol consumption was relatively even between women and men however, those aged 55 and older were less likely to say their alcohol consumption had increased, according the survey results.

Residents in the Atlantic provinces reported the highest increase of alcohol consumption at 26 per cent while Ontarians expressed the second-highest amount at nearly 23 per cent.

Participants from the Prairies reported that their alcohol consumption had decreased the most with nearly 15 per cent having said that they are drinking less than they were before COVID-19.

STAYING HOME MORE

The survey also asked Canadians if they are staying at home more due to the novel coronavirus.

According to the results, eight in 10 Canadians (81 per cent) reported that they were staying at home more, 17 per cent reported the same and two per cent said they were staying home less than before the pandemic.

In comparison, 94 per cent of respondents surveyed in April said they were staying home more due to COVID-19 and 5 per cent reported remaining at home the same amount as before.

METHODOLOGY

Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land-and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,003 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between September 30 and October 4 as part of an omnibus survey. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone using live agents and administered a survey online. The sample included both land-and cell-lines across Canada. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada.

Individuals randomly called using random digit dialling with a maximum of five call backs.

The margin of error for this survey is 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

This study was commissioned by CTV News and the research was conducted by Nanos Research.

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