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Stress, anxiety, loneliness up, especially among B.C. women, young people: poll

Last Updated Apr 24, 2020 at 7:17 am PDT

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New poll show British Columbians are experiencing higher levels of stress, boredom, loneliness amid social distancing

Mental health issues and their spinoff impacts are creating a whole new world of concern, Insights West finds

Overall levels of stress and other related emotions are higher than they were prior to the COVID-19 situation

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Social distancing and isolation are taking a toll on many British Columbians, who are experiencing higher levels of worry, stress, boredom, anxiety and loneliness compared to before the pandemic, according to a new poll.

The latest COVID-19-related findings from Insights West suggest mental health issues and their spinoff impacts are creating a whole new world of concern.

“Overall, I’d say were doing okay but there is a fairly large percentage of people who say they are not doing okay – 26 per cent who indicate they are doing ‘fair’ or ‘poor’ on a personal and emotional level,” says Steve Mossop, president of Insights West.

Even with three-quarters of respondents reporting they are doing okay dealing with the pandemic, Mossop says overall levels of stress and other related emotions are higher than they were prior to the COVID-19 situation.

“There’s a whole range of negative emotions and mental health issues that are popping up. We tracked six of them and found that 62 per cent of us are more worried than we ever have been. We’re dealing with boredom – 60 percent say more so than ever before. Fifty-nine per cent are more stressed, 57 percent have more anxiety and 43 per cent of us are more lonely,” he tells NEWS 1130.

That is despite a poll last week showing most people in BC  are actually socializing with friends and family more than they were prior to the crisis.

Insights West also finds women have been experiencing these emotions at a significantly higher rate than men — on average, about 10 points higher, except for boredom, where both genders are about the same.

The differences are even larger when it comes to age groups, with younger British Columbians reporting much higher levels of stress compared to older age groups.

Mossop says it is also of significance to note that essential workers are much more likely to be feeling stress, worry and loneliness than those who are not working or who are working from home, with numbers anywhere from 10 points to 20 points higher for this group compared to the rest of the population.

On another note, the poll finds the crisis has had a net positive impact on relationships. The most dramatic impact has been with parents and children as 30 per cent of parents say their relationship with their children is better compared to only eight per cent who say it is worse.

In a similar vein, about 28 per cents of those in a spouse/partnership relationship say the crisis has made their relationship better, versus only half that number (14%) who say it has made it worse. Insights West says over one-quarter (27%) of those polled indicate the relationship they have with their parents is better, and a slightly smaller number reports better relationships with their friends (22%)

“To see one quarter of the population not coping well, and the majority of us feeling more stress, anxiety and worry shows that this pandemic has impacted us far beyond the physical and financial level,” says Mossop.

“If there is one bright light in this pandemic is that for the most part, it has drawn us closer to our families and friends during this difficult time.”