Poll shows mental health toll of COVID-19 pandemic, isolation

Emotional toll of pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has many British Columbians stuck at home, practicing social distances to help slow the spread of the disease. And this has had an impact on the mental health of many.

A new Insights West poll of 817 British Columbians found people are experiencing higher levels of worry, stress, boredom, anxiety and loneliness than before the pandemic, and women appear to be hit harder than men.

Sixty-two per cent of those polled said they're feeling more worried than usual, while 59 per cent said they're more stressed than usual.

Another 57 per cent of respondents reported feeling more anxious, 59 per cent said they were more bored, and 43 per cent reported feeling more lonely.

“The results show the dramatic effect that this pandemic has had on the overall mental health and well-being of British Columbians, and it has been significant,” said Steve Mossop, president of Insights West.

The survey shows, on average, women are feeling the mental effects of the pandemic harder – about 10 per cent higher when it comes to worry, stress, anxiety and loneliness. Both genders are experiencing similar amounts of boredom though.

And despite the COVID-19 being most dangerous for the elderly, younger people appear to be feeling the emotional effects of the isolation.

While 73 per cent of 18-34 year olds are feeling more stress, 47 per cent of those 55 and older reported the same. When it comes to rating their coping with the pandemic, 36 per cent of 18-34 year old said they were doing fair or poor, while just 18 per cent of those 55 and older answered the same.

“To see one quarter of the population not coping well, and the majority of us feeling more stress, anxiety and worry shows that this pandemic has impacted us far beyond the physical and financial level,” Mossop said.

The online survey was conducted from April 9 to April 12. The margin of error is +/- 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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