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Construction workers rank high in COVID-19 mental health survey

Construction workers rank high in COVID-19 mental health survey

TORONTO — For the third consecutive month, the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic economically and societally are continuing to have an impact on the mental health of Canadians, according to the latest Morneau Shepell report released July 6.

But amidst the general decline, the survey shows, construction workers fared better than most other sectors.

The overall Mental Health Index for June 2020 is -11 points noted the Morneau Shepell release. The index represents the deviation from the pre-2020 benchmark. A negative score indicates poorer mental health relative to the benchmark, and a positive score indicates better mental health.

An 11-point decrease from the pre-COVID-19 benchmark reflects a population whose mental health is similar to the most distressed one per cent of the benchmark population. June is the third consecutive month of an extremely low Mental Health Index. There is little change from April 2020 (-12) and May (-12).

The highest mental health scores for June were observed in those employed in the mining and oil and gas extraction (-7.2), automotive (-8), and construction (-8.6) industries.

The lowest mental health scores are found in full-time students (-21.7), arts, entertainment and recreation (-16.7), and accommodation and food services (-16.1).

The lowest Mental Health Index sub-score is for the risk measure of anxiety (-12.9 points), followed by depression (-12.7), work productivity (-12.1), optimism (-12.0), and isolation (-11.6).

Only 19 per cent of respondents cited being likely to return to previous spending habits following COVID-19.

There were modest improvements across all sub-scores in June, with the exception of general psychological health which has remained the same as the prior month, the report indicated. A decline in the overall Mental Health Index is observed only for individuals with three or more children, those whose salary had been reduced and those recently unemployed.

Regardless of employment status, there continues to be a lower mental health score for females (-13.9) when compared to males (-9.2). Further, the younger the age group, the lower the Mental Health Index score.

Individuals employed in utilities, agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting, as well as arts, entertainment and recreation have had a decline in mental health since last month whereas individuals in automotive, real estate, rental and leasing, as well as information and cultural industries have seen the greatest improvement.

Thirty-four per cent of respondents indicated their employer supported employee mental health inconsistently, poorly or very poorly during the pandemic.

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