A person stands under an umbrella while looking out at English Bay as heavy rain falls, in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A person stands under an umbrella while looking out at English Bay as heavy rain falls, in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Canadians struggling through the pandemic aren’t accessing online resources: study

A national survey led by researchers at UBC says that Canadians aren’t aware of virtual resources

Canadians who are struggling with their mental health during the pandemic aren’t using online resources that can offer support for their well-being, recent research from the University of B.C. has found.

A national survey led by researchers at UBC, with help from the Canadian Mental Health Association, says that Canadians aren’t aware of virtual resources offered to support them with improving their mental health.

Back in May, 65 per cent of 3,000 survey participants reported that they have experienced poor mental health during the pandemic. However, only two per cent reported accessing online mental health resources such as apps, websites, digital tools or other supports not involving direct contact with a mental health care provider.

Researchers found that some people did make more use of online mental health resources than others, but the numbers remained low across the board.

READ MORE: B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Margaret Eaton, Canadian Mental Health Association CEO, said in a statement that since the start of the pandemic, demand for mental health services has been up across the organization’s 330 locations nationwide.

“Online mental health supports are one evidence-based way that we can help people during this unusual, stressful time.”

Forty-two survey participants said they struggled to find resources to help with stress from COVID-19.

Researchers said that online resources work best for those suffering from mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety and depression. The survey responses suggest a mere two per cent of Canadians struggling with anxiety and stress have accessed virtual support networks.

ALSO READ: Clinicians worry pandemic is worsening youth mental health

Meanwhile, four per cent of respondents who have felt hopeless, depressed or panicked have utilized online support options.

Lead researcher and nursing professor Emily Jenkins said online resources are easily accessible – even being offered in various different languages.

“These programs are ideally positioned for the types of difficult experiences and emotions that we’re seeing during the pandemic,” said Jenkins.

Chris Richardson, a research associate at the School of Population and Public Health at UBC, said most of those accessing online options are doing so after being referred through their care provider.

Jenkins and Richardson are conducting further research to understand why use of these resources are so low, but they’ve already found that a lack of awareness is a major contributing factor.

“We see a lot of messaging out there about physical distancing, face masks and hand washing,” said Richardson.

“We really need to get more messages out to people about how they can support their mental health in a positive way as well.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

Green spaces have offered many a sense of peace throughout the pandemic. (Photo Contributed)
Nature Conservancy of Canada matches all donations on Dec. 1

The initiative honours Giving Tuesday, an initiative created to combat Black Friday’s consumerism

Signs are posted at the entrance of newly deactivated roads. (Photo Contributed)
Teck hosts virtual Annual Outdoor Recreationalist Meeting

The Dec. 2 meeting will touch on biodiversity, reclamation, and road rehabilitation

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

File Photo
Missing hunter found dead in South Country

A hunter was reported as overdue on Nov. 29, and was found deceased on Nov. 30 following an RCMP and SAR operation

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Most Read