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COVID-19 has negative impact on Canadian employee mental health, report says

Half of respondents to a recent survey said their mental health has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.


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May 6, 2020 by Canadian Plastics

A new study of Canadians indicates that a growing number of employers are offering proactive mental health support, mirroring employees’ interest and comfort in virtual care options as part of their mental health and wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study of 1,558 employees or those recently employed in Canada and the U.S. was conducted by Leger and commissioned by healthcare company Teladoc Health.

As a result of COVID-19, one in two respondents indicate their mental health has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The breakdown of this data shows:

  • The negative impact on female respondents (57%) is far greater than male respondents (43%)
  • 52% of respondents between the ages of 18-34 were negatively impacted
  • Respondents over the age of 65, an age group that has been deemed most at risk for the virus, experienced the lowest reported negative impact in both Canada (37%) and the U.S.(38%).

The study finds that there is progress in opening the dialogue and closing the gap for mental health support in the workplace.

Nearly 40% of respondents in Canada indicated that their employers have responded to the pandemic with some or all of the following initiatives:

  • Offering additional mental health support
  • Raising the discussion of employee mental health needs
  • Waiving fees for mental health support

“The COVID-19 pandemic has given the mental health dialogue even greater importance and further advanced awareness and support for mental health among employers who are making it a priority,” said David Sides, chief operating officer with Teladoc Health. “Our research from 2019 to today shows that we’re closing the gap in employer support for mental health, as well as employees growing comfort in the use of virtual care.”

The study also found that Canadian respondents with an employee benefits plan (66%) are more aware of the mental health resources available to them than American respondents (55%). 85% of Canadians who have access to employee benefits said benefit plans should offer virtual care benefits as an option to support mental health concerns as they do with physical health needs.

“This pandemic has further highlighted the access gaps and need for widespread mental health care,” said Gustavo Kinrys, medical director and vice president of Mental Health Services, Teladoc Health. “The call for support is trending upward, as we play a critical role in working to help improve mental health education and awareness.”