Anxiety and Depression in Canada During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A National Survey
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Depression and anxiety are the most prevalent mental health problems in Canada. The COVID-19 pandemic will likely result in a large increase in the incidence and prevalence of anxiety and depression and experts are already warning of an “echo pandemic” of mental health problems. The objective is this research was to explorehowCanadiansaremanagingwiththeCOVID-19outbreakanddeterminetheimpactofthepandemic on levels of anxiety and depression. A nationally representative sample of 1,803 participants completed an online survey that was offered in both official languages. The percentage of respondents who indicated that their anxiety was high to extremely high quadrupled (from 5% to 20%) and the number of participants with high self-reported depression more than doubled (from 4% to 10%) since the onset of COVID-19. Although current anxiety levels are expected to remain the same, respondents predicted that depression would worsen if physical distancing and self-isolation continue for another 2 months. One-third of Canadians with anxiety and depression also report an increase in alcohol and cannabis use during the pandemic. Canadians with depression and anxiety also indicate that the quantity and quality of mental health support systems has decreased. Finally, a sizable proportion of Canadians believe that the federal and provincial governments should do more to support the mental health of Canadians. Recommendations for psychologists responding to mental health needs during and following the pandemic are provided.