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Most Canadians say mental illness top stigma, fear COVID-19 ‘changed things forever’: survey

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Summary

It's Mental Health Awareness Week and a new survey found seven in 10 Canadians fear 'things have changed forever'

When asked what people felt carried the largest stigma, 74 per cent said mental illness

Fear of the unknown caused two-thirds of Canadians to worry what will happen next

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — It’s Mental Illness Awareness Week in Canada and a new survey found people are struggling to cope as the second wave of COVID-19 hits the country.

Bromwich+Smith, a debt relief company, conducted the Money, Fear and Stigma poll that surveyed 1,510 Canadians about what they dread during the pandemic.

According to the findings, seven in 10 Canadians fear that “things have changed forever.”


Shawn Stack, vice-president of Bromwich+Smith, says more women (76 per cent) than men (63 per cent) fear this notion.

“People’s concept of the future is just completely uncertain and filled with fear. And it’s actually kind of moving from a place of fear, which is natural, but into dread, where we’re never actually going to escape the situation,” he says.

Stack says it’s key to stay optimistic.

“We will get through this. We, as Canadians, we’re resilient and we will look back at this and we will have grown from it,” he says. “Part of that growth is going to be coming from being open-minded and knowing that we suffered this together as a people, and we’re going to recover as a people as well.”

RELATED: Concerns rise over mental health of children amid COVID-19 pandemic

When asked what people felt carried the largest stigma, 74 per cent said mental illness.

About 65 per cent of Canadians feel anxiety about an unexpected health challenge for themselves or a loved one. Again, more women (72 per cent) worried about this compared to men (57 per cent).

Fear of the unknown caused two-thirds of Canadians to worry what will happen next.

“We are living in unprecedented times,” Stack says. “The trepidation people are feeling is real. It keeps them up at night and it’s hard to find a solution to ease the thoughts.”

Following mental illness, Canadians believe stigma is still carried with poverty (68 per cent), debt (66 per cent), unemployment (62 per cent), the failure of a business (46 per cent), and divorce (40 per cent).

If you or someone you know needs help immediately, call 911 or the B.C. Crisis Centre at either 310-6789 (no area code required) or 1.800.784.2433 where help is available 24/7. You can alternatively call Crisis Services Canada at 833.456.4566 for help 24/7 or text 45645 from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. PT in English and French.