The Covid-19 pandemic continues to take a toll on mental health, including the mental health of those working in finance and insurance.
On Wednesday, Toronto-based Morneau Shepell published its monthly mental health index report, 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 July, the index showed a 10-point decrease from the pre-pandemic benchmark of 75, based on factors such as anxiety, work productivity, isolation and financial risk.
The measure was up only one point over June, and represented the fourth consecutive month that ongoing impacts from the pandemic continued to take a toll on Canadians’ mental health.
Finance and insurance, with an index score of −10.7, was among the top 10 industries demonstrating the worst mental health scores. Still, the industry’s score was an improvement compare to −12.3 in June.
The highest mental health scores were observed in mining and oil and gas extraction (−6.1), while the lowest were in accommodation and food services (−19.1). (Full-time students fared even worse, at −23.7.)
Respondents without emergency savings continued to experience a lower mental health score (−23.4) than the overall group. In contrast, those with emergency funds had an average mental health score of −5.4.
The index also reflected increased awareness and response to anti-Black racism, finding that nearly 70% of respondents believed racism was a problem in Canada, and 20% believed racism was a problem in their workplaces.
By race, 62% of those who identified as Black agreed or strongly agreed that racism was a problem in the workforce, compared to 14% of those who identified as white.
Respondents who identified as Black showed a 1.8-point decrease in their index scores between May and June, and a 0.9-point increase (to −17.7) in July.
Those who identified as white showed consistent improvement without the same decline in June, with a 1.2-point increase between May and June and a 1.8-point increase (to −9.2) in July.
“These results demonstrate that the most intense period of awareness and response to anti-Black racism [in response to George Floyd’s death] corresponded with decline in mental health scores among Black Canadians,” a release said.
“As the conversation on systemic racism continues, the mental health score of Black Canadians is showing improvement.”
Looking forward, 40% of all respondents felt that systemic racism was likely to decrease in Canada as a result of heightened anti-Black racism awareness, while 33% were unsure and 27% felt that systemic racism was unlikely to decrease.
For full details, read the Morneau Shepell mental health index report.
About the mental health index: The monthly survey by Morneau Shepell was conducted through an online survey in English and French from June 22 to June 30, 2020, with 3,000 respondents in Canada. All respondents reside in Canada and were employed within the last six months. The data were statistically weighted to ensure the regional and gender composition of the sample reflect this population. The margins of error for the survey were +/− 3.2%, valid 19 times out of 20.