Ontario residents bracing for mental health crisis triggered by COVID-19, poll suggests

Mental Health

A new poll from one of Canada's leading mental health organizations says Ontario residents are bracing for a mental health crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey from the Ontario division of the Canadian Mental Health Association is the first in a series of three questionnaires meant to gauge the impact the outbreak and its various ripple effects will have on the way Ontario residents feel and behave.

The majority of the 1,001 respondents to the online poll conducted by Pollara say they fear the effects COVID-19 will have on the national economy, the future for both older and younger generations, personal finances and the well-being of friends and family.

The survey found 53 per cent of participants worry about their own mental health as a result of the pandemic, while 67 per cent say they're concerned about the toll on their loved ones.

The survey also found 23 per cent of respondents admit to increasing their use of substances such as alcohol, cannabis and tobacco.

CMHA Ontario says the survey's findings all point to a looming surge in demand for mental health supports that the province's existing systems simply aren't equipped to handle.