More than 46 per cent of Vancouver Island residents reported worsening health during COVID-19 in a province-wide survey released Dec. 4. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

More than 46 per cent of Vancouver Island residents reported worsening health during COVID-19 in a province-wide survey released Dec. 4. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Islanders’ mental health takes heavy hit under COVID-19: survey results

COVID-19 SPEAK survey collected results from nearly 400,000 B.C. residents

A B.C.-wide survey on people’s experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic has confirmed what many Island residents already knew – mental health has taken a significant hit.

Data from the May 2020 survey was released on Friday (Dec. 4) and showed that 46 per cent of Islanders reported worsening mental health as a result of the pandemic.

Younger populations were especially hard hit with 54 per cent of people between the ages of 18 and 29, 53 per cent of people aged 30 to 39, and 50 per cent of people aged 40 to 49 experiencing deteriorating mental health. Only 29 per cent of people aged 80 and over reported the same.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 has depressed mental health of Canadian youth

Numbers were also higher for women, households with children and people with lower incomes.

The data also showed mental health was the most likely to have worsened for people who identified as West Asian/Arab at 55 per cent, followed by Latin American/Hispanic at 52 per cent and white at 46 per cent.

An even greater number of respondents said they found thoughts about the pandemic consuming, with 59 per cent of Islanders reporting thinking about COVID-19 much of the time. Again, this number was higher for women at 64 per cent while 53 per cent of men reported feeling this way.

A third of people said they felt in control, while 22 per cent said they felt helpless. The percent of those feeling in control was significantly lower for people who identified at West Asian/Arab at 17 per cent. Respondents who identified as Black led those feeling helpless at 32 per cent, followed by South Asian at 30 per cent and West Asian/Arab at 28 per cent.

Financial stress and reduced social connections also weighed heavy on Islanders.

READ ALSO: 60% of Canadian workers would take a pay cut for better mental health support: survey

Nearly 38 per cent of respondents expressed stress about their future financial situation and 29 per cent about their current one. Younger populations, households with children and people with lower incomes reported especially high financial stress.

More than 42 per cent of Islanders reported they were connecting with their family less and 62 per cent said they were connecting with their friends less.

Despite it all, the data shows that COVID-19 may have brought Islanders together. Nearly 67 per cent of respondents said they felt a strong sense of community belonging.

Across the province, 394,382 people responded to the survey. Results were weighted using 2016 Canadian Census data by geography for age, sex, educational level and ethnicity to account for differences in sample demographics and ensure the sample was as representative as possible.

A complete breakdown of the province-wide results can be found on the B.C. COVID-19 SPEAKS Survey dashboard.


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

CoronavirusGreater VictoriaIsland Healthmental healthVancouver Island Health Authority

Just Posted

Shaelyn Sinnott of Oak Bay Volunteer Services delivers groceries for client Irene Kenny. The organization has kept up delivery of food and medication throughout all phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy Oak Bay Volunteer Services)
Oak Bay volunteers keep critical services running

Duo drove between Oak Bay and Jubilee three days a week, twice a day during pandemic

Two volunteers work to sieve a sample of sand and ocean water through a filter, capturing any potential microplastics. (Courtesy of Ocean Diagnostics)
Victoria startup making waves in microplastics research

New products from Ocean Diagnostics will make research faster, more affordable

Willows Beach in Oak Bay. (Black Press Media file photo)
Seven days of sun set to shine on Greater Victoria

Special weather statement warns of higher than usual temperatures

Chef Trevor Randle leads a June 21 online cooking featuring recipes – beef zesty lettuce wraps, blueberry strudel and blueberry spritzer. (Courtesy We Heart Local BC)
Free online cooking course explores B.C. blueberries and beef

Chef Trevor Randle calls them the province’s most flavourful foods

Google Maps shows significant traffic backups after a crash reported shortly before noon on Father’s Day, June 20. (Google Maps)
Father’s Day crash in Saanich closes lane of McKenzie Avenue

Police say there were injuries, traffic impacted

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Most Read