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7 February 2022
1 in 4 Ontarians access mental health help – The highest rate during the pandemic
(Toronto, Feb. 7, 2022) – New polling data released today indicates that more Ontarians are accessing mental health supports than at any other time during the pandemic.
The survey by Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario indicates that one in four people (24 per cent) have sought help for their mental health challenges, a significant uptick from 17 per cent last winter and nine per cent almost two years ago.
The data also shows that while people have had their ups and downs, their levels of mental health distress are similar to the start of the pandemic. This is particularly true with rates of stress, anxiety and depression.
Substance use is also roughly the same as the start of the pandemic, where one in four Ontarians are still consuming more alcohol, cannabis or tobacco.
Respondents’ outlook about the future of mental health is grim: 77 per cent, up from 69 per cent when the pandemic began, feel that Ontario is on track for a “serious mental health crisis when this is over.”
“We’ve conducted four polls during this pandemic because we wanted to get a sense of how people are doing nearly two years in,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO, CMHA Ontario. “Needless to say we’re very concerned that the numbers are going in the wrong direction and people are not improving.”
While it is a positive sign that one in four people are seeking help, the survey indicates that Ontarians are not finding the supports as effective as at the start of the pandemic.
About 65 per cent are now reporting that mental health supports are helpful, down from 77 per cent near the beginning of COVID-19.
“This is troubling as it may be an indicator that people’s mental health challenges are more complex than they might’ve thought,” said Quenneville. “Many people might be saying they’re fine but that’s not what we’re seeing in the data.”
“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,” she said.
CMHA Ontario’s fourth survey was conducted by Pollara and questioned 1,001 Ontario adults from Jan. 10-17. It carries a margin of error of ± 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
CMHA Ontario’s first poll was conducted in April 2020, the second poll in July 2020 and the third in February 2021.
Mental health and addictions support have remained available through the pandemic at CMHA branches across the province. You can find your local CMHA branch at cmha.ca/find-your-cmha.
Access and effectiveness of mental health supports
Rates of mental health issues
Parents and children
Alcohol, cannabis, tobacco, gambling
About Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario is a not-for-profit, charitable organization. We work to improve the lives of all Ontarians through leadership, collaboration and continual pursuit of excellence in community-based mental health and addictions services. Our vision is a society that embraces and invests in the mental health of all people. We are a trusted advisor to government, contributing to health systems development through policy formulation and recommendations that promote positive mental health. Our nearly 30 local CMHA branches serve more than 100,000 Ontarians each year.
For more information, contact your local Ontario CMHA branch (cmha.ca/find-your-cmha) or contact Joe Kim, Communications Director, Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario T: 416-977-5580, ext. 4141, E: [email protected]