Focusing on Economic Recovery Without Prioritizing Mental Health Could mean Devastating long-term Consequences
The health, well-being and economic security of British Columbians have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever before, our new government will have a moral imperative to prioritize mental health and well-being alongside economic recovery. Neither can be achieved if the other is left behind.
Overall decline in mental health
Nearly 40% of Canadians feel their mental health has worsened since the onset of COVID-19, with many feeling, isolated, anxious, worried, and having difficulty coping.
Underserved populations are struggling more
COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted the mental health of populations such as low income residents, older adults, and people already experiencing health and social inequities. People struggling with their mental health prior to the pandemic are twice as likely to have harmed themselves, and three times more likely to have thoughts of suicide.
Economic downturn impacting mental health
Many people have experienced employment insecurity, temporary layoffs, and job loss due to COVID-19. An increased unemployment rate increases the risk of suicide and other substance use-related deaths.
Climbing overdose death numbers
The toxic illicit drug supply has fueled a poisoning epidemic for over four years and now the added pressures of COVID-19 have led to overdose rates increasing month-on-month—with the highest monthly numbers of overdose deaths ever recorded within the province.