Applicant: Dr. Helen-Maria Vasiliadis
Institution: Université de Sherbrooke
Approval Date: May 2021
Project Summary: COVID-19 has had an impact on people’s everyday life given strict physical distancing measures, confinement, the closure of non-essential services, the cancellation of non-emergency surgeries, interventions, and medical follow-up visits, as well as the way in which medical consultations are offered.
In Canada, what is currently unknown is the impact of COVID-19 of adult and older adults’ mental health and healthcare use during the pandemic. To our knowledge, this study is the first large-scale epidemiological dataset offering a unique opportunity to assess the impact of COVID-19 on depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress rates, health service use, and the mental health needs of adults and older adults across Canada.
This study relies on secondary longitudinal analyses of data from the CanPath project which includes information on health outcomes and physician diagnoses pre (2018) and during COVID (2020), in eight Canadian provinces (Québec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador).
The specific objectives of this Pan-Canadian study are: 1) To ascertain the presence of a physician diagnosis of a mental disorder (major/minor depression, anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress and obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia) and self-perceived mental health in Canadians prior and during the COVID-19 pandemic; 2) To identify the predisposing [age, sex, gender, education, race/ethnicity, medical professional/essential provider, etc.], enabling/impeding [province, income, marital status, employment status and changes, lifestyle behaviours, perception of COVID dangerosity, etc.] and need factors [changes in GAD-7 and PHQ-9 severity scores (pre-during COVID-19), mental and emotional health from before to after pandemic, presence of physical disorders, mental disorders, stress, pregnancy, financial worries, COVID infection, close contact with COVID, impairment, etc.] associated with perceived mental health /emotional need for help/aid/support because of the pandemic; receipt of health and social services (community organisations, professionals, help-lines, government support); and changes and delays to healthcare services since March 2020.
Logistic and multinomial multivariable analyses will be carried out to assess the factors associated with reported need for health and social services for mental health/emotional problems and receipt of services. Stratified analyses by age groups, sex/gender, race/ethnicity will also be carried out.
This evidence will inform Canada-wide and province-specific strategic planning for human and financial resource allocation and coordination of mental health primary care and psychological services in relation to generated increased prevalence and incidence rates of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorders, as well as level of health service need. Findings will also identify at-risk groups to inform recommendations on tailored mental health strategies and additional resources required post-pandemic, as well as provide a comprehensive baseline portrait of mental health status and needs during the pandemic to prepare for Canada’s mental health response to future outbreaks. Findings will be shared with decision-makers and policy-makers to build health system capacity by appropriately matching access to service needs, as well as in peer-reviewer articles, conference workshops, websites, and local newspaper articles.