This report spotlights negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth and older adults, and stigma toward depression and alcohol use disorders.  It highlights the importance of continued investment in youth mental health and substance use supports; fostering the resilience of older adults; and further stigma reduction efforts across the population.

The report reflects findings of online survey research conducted by Leger for the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction and the Mental Health Commission of Canada.  Data was gathered through a non-random online survey of people living in Canada, aged 16 years and older, who signed up to complete an online survey via Leger’s online panel.  Survey data was collected six times between October-November 2020 and July, 2021.

Results include:

  • Youth reported higher rates of mental health concerns and were more likely to report substance use concerns, while older adults reported much lower rates
  • 1 in 4 youth with current mental health symptoms were accessing services
  • Less than 1 in 3 youth with substance use concerns were accessing treatment
  • Youth top stressors—school and mental health
  • Older adult top stressors—social isolation and the health of their family members
  • Youth less likely than older adults and general population to perceive stigma towards someone with depression, while stigma toward someone with alcohol use disorder is more common among all ages
  • People with past and current substance use concerns show signs of worsening mental health

Published By: Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction and the Mental Health Commission of Canada

Publication Date: December, 2021

Click here to access the report in PDF format: Mental Health and Substance Use During COVID-19: Spotlight on Youth, Older Adults & Stigma

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