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Only 12% of Ontarians are feeling empathetic, down markedly from two years ago

Only 13% of Canadians are feeling empathetic, down markedly from two years ago

CMHA and UBC release new data on empathy and challenged relationships

Toronto, (ON), May 2, 2022 – Just as Canadians are experiencing pandemic fatigue after two long years, research suggests that Canadians may also be experiencing “empathy fatigue.” The latest survey conducted by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and UBC researchers, Assessing the Impacts of COVID-19 on Mental Health, shows that feelings of empathy have eroded over the course of the pandemic, with only 13% of Canadians feeling empathetic, down markedly since the onset of the pandemic (from 23%).

Empathy is the ability to understand another’s perspective and feelings.

“The decline in empathy that we are seeing is concerning,” says Margaret Eaton, National CEO, CMHA. “If we are to resolve our conflicts in relationships, in society and globally, we need to understand one another, even when we don’t agree.”

The CMHA/UBC survey also reveals that 37% of Canadians are as worried about lost social connections (37%) and being separated from friends and family (39%) as they are about getting sick with COVID (39%).

CMHA/UBC data released in March 2022 shows that 37% of Canadians have experienced a decline in their mental health since the start of the pandemic.

“The deterioration of social relationships that we see in the data comes at a time when we need each other more than ever,” says Dr. Emily Jenkins, UBC professor who co-led the research.
“Empathy is essential not only for building positive and healthy relationships, but also for reducing divisions between people, and in our communities. And the good news is, it is an emotional response that can be cultivated.”

The release of these data on empathy and strained relationships couldn’t be timelier as it coincides with the 71st annual Mental Health Week, May 2-8, 2022.This year’s theme is the importance of empathy.

Mental Health Week is sponsored by Major Sponsor Beneva as well as The Medicine Shoppe, Workplace Strategies for Mental Health (Canada Life) and Not Myself Today. To get involved, you can:

About the Canadian Mental Health Association

Founded in 1918, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is the most established, most extensive community mental health organization in Canada. Through a presence in more than 330 communities across every province and one territory, CMHA provides advocacy, programs and resources that help to prevent mental health problems and illnesses, support recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive. For more information, please visit www.cmha.ca.

About Canadian Mental Health Association, Niagara Branch

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Niagara Branch is one of a network of 67 branches, 11 Divisions, and 1 National Office that offer mental health services in communities across Canada. It was formed in 2001, as an amalgamation of CMHA St. Catharines and District Branch and CMHA Niagara South Branch. CMHA Niagara is recognized as a solid service provider and an effective contributor to the community mental health system. It has skilled staff and a good partnership of board, consumers, family members and professional service providers that ensures programs are current and as efficient and effective as possible.

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For local media inquiries:

Karen Marazzo, CMHA Communications & Revenue Development Coordinator, [email protected] 905-641-5222 Ext. 2644

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