Newfoundlanders and Labradorians feel anxious and crave real connection, but say they’re doing “fine”

For Mental Health Week, the Canadian Mental Health Association – NL promotes social connection to protect mental health in these difficult times.

ST. JOHN’S (NL) May 4, 2020 – Most Newfoundlanders and Labradorians rely on shortcuts to describe their emotional state—even during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to new data released today by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in partnership with Maru/Matchbox, 75 per cent of Atlantic Canadians who were asked “how are you?” rely on “I’m fine, thanks” to express how they’re doing, despite the fact that they are feeling more negative emotions than positive ones these days (61% negative vs. 39% positive). The data were released to mark Canada’s 69th annual Mental Health Week, which runs May 4-10, 2020.

Despite a pandemic-driven growth in video-conferencing and social media usage, Canadians are feeling more isolated than ever (up 12 points from 39% to 47% in less than one month) and crave real, meaningful connections. In fact, two-thirds of Atlantic Canadians (63%) report they would like to experience more meaningful social interactions in their daily life.

“Most Canadians want more social connection, yet they’re reluctant to have the kind of honest, open conversations that build the connection they crave,” says Margaret Eaton, National CEO of CMHA. “In our society, it’s a cultural norm to ask people how they’re doing, but not to expect, nor provide, a truthful answer. This Mental Health Week, it’s time to get real about how we feel. It’s clear we need each other more than ever.”

Prior to the global pandemic, loneliness was already a major public health concern. People with weak or few social connections are at increased risk for anxiety, depression, anti-social behaviour and suicide.1 And a lack of strong relationships has the same negative impact on life expectancy as… [read more]

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