Upset stressed young Asian business man in suit with hands on head sitting on stairs. Unemployment and layoff concept.

The Covid-19 pandemic is taking a toll on mental health, including the mental health of those working in finance and insurance.

On Monday, Toronto-based Morneau Shepell published its monthly mental health index, which provides a measure of employed adults’ mental health compared to benchmarks collected in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The index was launched in April 2020.

In May, the index showed a 12-point decrease from the pre-pandemic benchmark of 75, based on factors such as anxiety, work productivity, isolation and financial risk.

May’s figure followed an identical 12-point decrease in April — though May’s result showed some improvement in anxiety and financial risk scores, offset by increased feelings of isolation compared to the month prior.

The 12-point drop is significant because it reflects a population “whose mental health is similar to the most distressed 1% of the benchmark population,” the Morneau Shepell report said.

By industry, finance and insurance scored lower in May (−13.1) than the overall index.

The lowest mental health index scores by industry were in accommodation and food services (−16.8); arts, entertainment and recreation (−15.5); and real estate, rental and leasing (−14.3).

The highest scores were in utilities (−6.1), and mining and oil and gas extraction (−9.3).

Mental health details for individuals

The index found that the most pervasive concern affecting mental health continued to the pandemic’s financial impact (cited by 35% of respondents).

Canadians without emergency savings experienced a lower score in mental health (−24.3) than the overall group. “People with no emergency fund have uniformly low scores on the mental health index,” the report said.

Canadians who had maintained employment at the same income level (61% of respondents) had the best mental health score (−9.4). Those who maintained employment but with reduced salary had the lowest (−15.4).

For full details, read the Morneau Shepell mental health index report.

About the mental health index: Morneau Shepell conducted an online survey of 3,000 respondents from April 30 to May 11, 2020. All respondents resided in Canada and were employed within the last six months. The data were statistically weighted to ensure that the regional and gender composition of the sample reflected this population. The margin of error was +/- 3.2%, 19 times out of 20.