Feeling desperate? Anxious? You're not alone.

Mental Health

We're cooped up. Money is tight. We don't know what's coming next.

A new NEWSTALK 1010 Pulse of Toronto Poll, by DART&maru/BLUE, gives us new insight into how people in the GTA are coping with COVID-19.

Among the key findings, according to DART's John Wright, is a tale of two realities.

"You see the world divided primarily into two types of people," Wright explains. "60 percent who actually are facing some serious challenges with their mental and physical health...and the other people who are coping pretty well."

For about one in 10, their financial situation is desperate. For another 30 percent, money is very tight.

Wright says it's the age group between 35 and 54 with young families who are most affected. These people may have a line of credit on their home and may be dealing with job loss.

There is a group though, that seems to be doing pretty well. 41 percent said they were feeling fortunate.

"They're fortunate because they have the money, they have their debt paid down, they climb into a bed every night and they feel pretty good about it. So, they've got that social and economic support," Wright says.

But stress and anxiety don't come from finances alone. There's the human connection, or lack thereof.

Wright says we're all trying to adjust to, "a new abnormal."

"The reality is, we're having a lot more people who are embedded. They're in their house more. They are doing more online," Wright explains. "The real issue from an embedded society is how you eventually connect with the outer society again."

Change is never easy, particularly the accelerated rate of change we're seeing now.

Wright says people are having to rethink their retirement, how they'll fund their children's education and how to manage relationships with the people they're cooped up with.

He expects the fallout to continue for years.

"As we adjust to these circumstances, professionals themselves are likely to be overwhelmed as more and more people step forward to try and get help."

Here are some of the numbers:

64% and 62% say they're concerned about their family's physical and mental health respectively. 58% and 56% are concerned about their own.

How are people feeling? Respondents were given a list and told to choose all that apply. Among the top answers:

Anxious - 44%
Isolated - 43%
Bored - 43%
Fortunate - 41%
Frustrated - 41%

What are people doing to help keep strong mental health:

Talking with friends and family - 45%
Exercising or staying active - 43%
Eating healthy - 40%
Getting good/regular sleep - 36%
Doing hobbies/activities - 36%
Nothing - I have not taken any steps to maintain strong mental health - 21%

The survey was conducted among 825 randomly selected adults in the GTA who are members of maru/BLUE's Online panel May 5-8, 2020 and is considered accurate to within +/- 3.9 percentage points.