New data suggests COVID-19 has accelerated the decline in mental health among young Canadians. (Black Press Media File)

New data suggests COVID-19 has accelerated the decline in mental health among young Canadians. (Black Press Media File)

Report finds COVID-19 accelerated declining mental health of Canadian youth

Canadians aged 15 to 30 drink more heavily and smoke more cannabis than older counterparts

New data suggests COVID-19 has accelerated the decline in mental health among young Canadians.

According to a newly-released Statistics Canada report, less than half, or 40 per cent, of youth aged 15 to 30 reported excellent or very good mental health in summer 2020. The effects of physical distancing appear especially negative on youth according to the report, as they were the most likely group to report a negative impact on their mental health since the start of such measures. Seniors were the least likely group to do so, it adds.

These findings confirm a broader trend that started less than a decade ago, when young Canadians reported more positive mental health than their older counterparts. Nearly three out of four females (74 per cent) aged 15 to 30 reported excellent or very good mental health in 2011-2012, compared to 69 per cent of females aged 47 and older. By 2019, woman aged 47 and older reported the same level of mental health compared to 2011-2012, while the number of young females reporting excellent or very good mental health had dropped to 54 per cent.

RELATED: COVID-19 has depressed mental health of Canadian youth

RELATED: Household size, employment key factors in pandemic mental health among Canadians: survey

The health of young Canadians has also declined in other ways. While the number of Canadian youth smoking cigarettes has dropped into single digits, eight per cent for males and six per cent for females in 2019, Canadians aged 15 to 30 drink more heavily and smoke more cannabis than their older counterparts. Obesity rates have also risen, albeit slightly, 9.6 per cent to 11.8 per cent for males and from seven to 11.7 per cent for females, between 2001 and 2019.

Overall, the report concludes that Canadians aged 15 to 30 are less obese, more active and smoke less than older Canadians now, but more obese and less active than Canadian youth 20 years ago.

The report also finds a sociological cleavage among youth. Canadian youth who fall into the category of White Canadians are more likely to drink heavily and smoke cannabis than Canadian youth who fall into a group that qualifies as a visible minority. Behaviour damaging to health such as smoking is also higher among youth living in low-income households.

“Young Canadians belonging to a group designated as a visible minority smoke less and have lower obesity rates than White Canadians,” the report reads. But youth belonging to a group designated as a visible minority also spend less time doing active recreational activities and eat fewer fruits and vegetables than White Canadians.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members of the Nelson Nordic Ski Club show off their new snowcat. Photo: Submitted
Nelson Nordic Club celebrates new snowcat

A community fundraising effort led to the purchase

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
Kootenay-Columbia MP supports motion condemning Uighur genocide

Rob Morrison says labelling Uighur persecution as a genocide sends a message to Chinese government

The Skinny Genes Foundation is raising awareness and funds for a rare genetic disorder that claimed both his father and uncle.
NHL players, local businesses help Kootenay man raise funds and awareness for rare genetic disease

Signed NHL jerseys and local business donations up for auction in Skinny Genes Foundation fundraiser

An architectural design proposal from June, 2020, illustrates what a re-developed Hall Street Pier might look like. Illustration: City of Nelson
Nelson receives $1M grant for Hall St. Pier project

The design and extent of the project will be decided in the next few weeks

The Columbia Basin Trust has announced grants for biodiversity initiatives. Photo: Submitted
Columbia Basin Trust announces ecosystem protection grants

Three projects are sharing a $1.35-million grant

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An official investigation will be launched after VPD officers were recorded posing near a dead body at Third Beach on Wednesday morning, Feb. 24. (Screen grab/Zachary Ratcliff)
VIDEO: Vancouver officers under review for allegedly laughing, taking pictures next to dead body

Two officers were caught on video by a local beachgoer Wednesday morning in Stanley Park

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
‘Stay local’: Dr. Henry shoots down spring break travel for British Columbians

B.C. is reportedly working with other provincial governments to determine March break policies

“Our biggest challenge has been the amount of vaccine,” said FNHA acting chief medical officer Dr. Shannon McDonald. (First Nations Health Authority Facebook photo)
All First Nations on reserve to be vaccinated by end of March: First Nations Health Authority

Vaccinations continuing for B.C. First Nations amid shortages

(Delta Police Department photo)
B.C. youth calls 911 after accruing $7K in online gaming charges

‘Police spoke with the student about appropriate times to call 911’

Site C will go ahead, one year later and $5.3 billion more, the NDP announced Feb 26. (BC Hydro image)
B.C. NDP announces Site C will go ahead with new $16B budget

Reviews recommend more oversight, beefed up foundation stability work

The BC Prosecution Service announced last year that it was appointing lawyer Marilyn Sandford as a special prosecutor to review the case, following media inquiries about disclosure issues linked to a pathologist involved in the matter. (Black Press Media files)
Possible miscarriage of justice in B.C. woman’s conviction in toddler drowning: prosecutor

Tammy Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in 2013 to the lesser charge

A kid in elementary school wearing a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Metro Creative)
Union asks why an elementary school mask rule wouldn’t work in B.C. if it does elsewhere

B.C. education minister announced expansion of mask-wearing rules in middle, high school but not elementary students

Most Read