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Few Canadians accessing online mental health support: UBC

Last Updated Nov 10, 2020 at 12:20 pm MDT

(CREDIT: iStock Photo)

VANCOUVER (660 NEWS) – Many Canadians are suffering mental health problems because of COVID-19 but few are seeking help through online resources.

A survey from the University of British Columbia and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) found 65 per cent of those who took part have struggled with their mental health but only two per cent reached out for support.

“Even among people who were experiencing mental distress of various types, and in groups who would likely benefit from these resources, the uptake was quite low,” said lead researcher Emily Jenkins.

“These programs are ideally positioned for the types of difficult experiences and emotions that we’re seeing during the pandemic. They are well suited for people who are having trouble coping and need some support to manage their mental health. They’re also easily accessed and many are available in different languages.”

WATCH: Mental health advocates on coping amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Among the 42 per cent who said nothing was helping them cope with their stresses, none had accessed any online resources.

Only one in 10 respondents who reported self-harm had reached out.

Some of the online supports available include CMHA’s BounceBack, Wellness Together Canada, and WellCan.

“Online mental health resources were being accessed at slightly higher levels by a small group, particularly people connected already with the health-care system who are likely being referred to them by care providers,” said research associate Chris Richardson.

Demand for mental health services has grown since the start of the pandemic and the CMHA said all locations in Canada have been adapting their programs to meet the mental health needs out there.