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

Pastafarian Gary Smith, pictured here dressed as a pirate, wanted to wear his tricorn (also pictured here) in his driver’s licence photo, arguing that the display was a religious observance. Photo: Facebook
B.C. Pastafarian loses Supreme Court fight to wear pirate hat in driver’s licence photo

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith put his case to the Supreme Court in Rossland early last month

A man wearing a mask against coronavirus walks past an NHS advertisement about COVID-19 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
92 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths: Interior Health

The region is reporting 92 cases after the weekend

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The fundraising effort to purchase 40 hectares west of Cottonwood Lake announced its success this week. Photo: Submitted
Cottonwood Lake fundraiser reaches goal

The community group has raised $400,000 to purchase 40 hectares of forest

B.C.’s court of appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Kootenay man appeals 7-year conviction for New Year’s Eve kidnapping, beating

Brandon Coons, 27, was convicted on five charges, including assault with a weapon

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

Vernon’s Noric House long-term care facility’s COVID-10 outbreak has been declared over by Interior Health. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
COVID outbreak at Vernon’s Noric House declared over

10 deaths were linked to the outbreak at long-term care facility

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Gas prices jumped in Golden to 131.9c this week, a trend that's supposed to continue into the summer. (Claire Palmer/Golden Star)
Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Clovechok concerned as gas prices continue to rise

Fuel prices are supposed to skyrocket this summer as British Columbians await BCUC analysis

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Most Read