VIDEO: State of Canadian Mental Health

Mario Toneguzzi‘s guest on Business Insider: Paula Allen, Global Leader and Senior Vice President, research and total wellbeing for LifeWorks, talks about the impact COVID-19 is having on the mental health of Canadians. 

LifeWorks Press Release

LifeWorks, a leading provider of technology-enabled total wellbeing solutions, today released its monthly Mental Health IndexTM report, revealing a negative mental-health score among Canadians for the 15th consecutive month.

The Mental Health IndexTM score for June is -10.7 compared to the pre-pandemic benchmark.

In June, the research found that while many organizations have begun developing return-to-workplace strategies, a significant portion of Canadians require clearer communication on office reopening plans. One-quarter (25 per cent) of Canadians are unclear of their employer’s plan for work, while another 12 per cent do not believe that their employer has a plan. These groups also reported the lowest mental health scores (-17.9 and -14.9, respectively) when compared to employees stating their employer’s
plan is clear.

When reviewing employees’ expectations about the return to workplace:
– More than one-third (38 per cent) expect that their employer will want all employees working in
their pre-pandemic environment;
– Seventeen per cent believe that their employer will allow remote work to continue;
– Fourteen per cent expect to work onsite at their office at least part of the time; and
– Only six per cent expect to have the flexibility to choose their work location.

“As flexibility and hybrid work environments become part of everyday life, yet another workplace transition is likely to cause increased mental strain among working Canadians,” said Stephen Liptrap, president and chief executive officer. “As we look to the other side of the pandemic, organizations should consider focusing on wellbeing as a vital part of their culture. This means continuing to prioritize employee mental health with empathy, clear communication and high-quality mental health resources.”

Vaccination status impacting Canadians’ mental wellbeing

In April 2021, more than half (55 per cent) of Canadians reported that vaccination against COVID-19 or reaching herd immunity would most improve their outlook for the future. In June 2021, the research found that those who report being partially vaccinated against COVID-19 have the most favourable mental health score (-9.3). The least favourable score (-15.7) is seen among those who are not vaccinated but intend to be. Additionally, those who are not vaccinated and do not intend to be, showed
the worst isolation score (-18.9).

“Since the onset of the pandemic, prolonged uncertainty has contributed to feelings of anxiety and a decline in optimism among Canadians,” said Paula Allen, global leader and senior vice president, research and total wellbeing. “As restrictions continue to ease with climbing vaccination rates, we are seeing an improvement in mental outlook among both fully and partially vaccinated individuals. While this is encouraging, the improvement is fragile, and we are still well below where we were before the
pandemic. The next few months will be pivotal. We need to regain a sense of control and deal with the increased mental tension that has become a norm.”

The full Canadian Mental Health IndexTM report can be found here. This month, the report includes additional insights on the mental strain faced by post-secondary students, how children have been impacted by the pandemic, and more.

Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works as a freelance writer and editor as well as a consultant in communications and media relations/training.

He is VP of Content & Strategy for MegaPixx Media, which owns and operates YYC Business, and owner of Mario Toneguzzi Communications Inc. 

Mario is a regular contributor to various national and local publications including Retail Insider, RENX, Globe and Mail, The Star, National Post, Real Estate Magazine, Troy Media, YYC Business, Grocery Business Magazine and many others. He’s also a host for Calgary and Edmonton on Canada’s Podcast network. And he’s a regular contributor of content for companies and organizations to populate their websites.

Frequent commentator on television and radio on business news, issues and trends.

Named in 2021 as one of the Top 10 Business Journalists in the World by PR News – the only Canadian to make the list.

Part of the Herald’s National Newspaper Award winning newsroom for coverage of the June 2013 floods in Calgary.

If you would like to be interviewed by Mario for Five Questions or Business Insider, he can be reached at 

Mario can tell your story, share your message and amplify it to a wider audience through various digital channels.

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