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Number of people in Ontario needing mental health support increasing, survey finds


More people in Ontario are accessing mental health support than at any other time during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey suggests.

The Canadian Mental Health Association poll indicated 24 per cent of respondents have sought help for mental health challenges, compared to 17 per cent last winter and nine per cent almost two years ago.

Camille Quenneville, the association's CEO, said the survey results are worrying as they indicate the mental health of those living in the province is not improving.

"We've conducted four polls during this pandemic because we wanted to get a sense of how people are doing nearly two years in," she said in a written statement.

"Needless to say we're very concerned that the numbers are going in the wrong direction."

The poll surveyed 1,001 Ontario adults between Jan. 10 and Jan. 17, and carries a margin of error of 3.1 per cent.

The Canadian Mental Health Association conducted three similar surveys earlier in the pandemic -- in April 2020, July 2020 and February 2021.

In the latest survey, nearly half -- 48 per cent -- of respondents said their mental health has worsened since the pandemic began, compared to 36 per cent at the start of the pandemic

Thirty two per cent of those surveyed said they are struggling with high levels of stress and 31 per cent have high levels of anxiety.

Accessing mental health support appears to be a challenge as 43 per cent of survey respondents indicated it was difficult to get help, up from 37 per cent at the start of the pandemic.

About 65 per cent of those surveyed said mental health supports are helpful, down from 77 per cent near the beginning of COVID-19.

"We will continue to monitor these trends because, as we know, mental health is a continuum and people's moods and feelings can change with a return to normalcy," Quenneville said.

 This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2022 Top Stories

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