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

LEFT: Krista Macinnis, with a red handprint across her face that symbolizes the silencing of First Nations people, displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
RIGHT: Abbotsford School District Kevin Godden says the district takes responsibility for the harm the assignment caused.
Abbotsford school district must make amends for harmful residential school assignment: superintendent

‘The first step is to unreservedly apologize for the harm … caused to our community’: Kevin Godden

Chilliwack School District school bus outside Sardis elementary on June 11, 2014. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
COVID-19 exposures on three school buses in Chilliwack

Exposure dates range from Nov. 13 to 19, according to letters sent out by Fraser Health

File photo
Outdoor recreation generates close to $1 billion annually in Fraser Valley: report

Camping, hiking and sportfishing generate the most spending, report finds

Chief Robert Gladstone of Shxwha:y Village at a federal flood funding announcement April 24, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress file)
Consortium of Indigenous chiefs seeking a way to participate in cannabis economy

All Nations Chiefs from the Shxwha:y, Cheam, Soowahlie and Sq’ewlets holding online forum Dec. 2

The Santa Photos event will not continue at Highstreet Shopping Centre after Fraser Health asked organizers to suspend the event after new restrictions. (Highstreet photo)
Santa Photos at Abbotsford’s Highstreet Shopping Centre event suspended

Fraser Health Authority asked Highstreet to suspend event following new restrictions

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Kevin Bieksa during his days playing with the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo: commons.wikimedia.org)
Bieksa to guest on free Canucks Alumni ‘Hot Stove’ on Zoom app

Former NHL player has become a game analyst on Sportsnet

Elissa McLaren broke her left elbow in the Sept. 20, 2020 collision. (Submitted)
Surviving victims of fatal crash in Fraser Valley asking for help leading up to Christmas

‘This accident has taken a larger toll financially, mentally and physically than originally intended’

Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld (left) and former BCTF president Glen Hansman (right).
BC Court of Appeal left to walk tightrope of freedom of expression in Neufeld-Hansman case

Is defamation lawsuit aimed at stifling free expression or does the defamation hinder free speech?

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

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 big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Most Read