By Rhythm Sachdeva, CTVNews.ca writer
Toronto, Ontario (CTV Network) — More than half of Canadian parents say their children are still experiencing “negative impacts” of the pandemic, more than two years after COVID-19 disrupted lives around the world.
According to the LifeWorks’ monthly Mental Health Index, released Wednesday, 56 per cent of parents are noticing their children’s mental health and development worsening.
“When it comes to the disruption and isolations of the pandemic, children’s mental health has been heavily impacted. Understandably, this is having a major impact on parents and families as a result,” Stephen Liptrap, president and chief executive officer of LifeWorks, said in a release.
The report found that 27 per cent of parents have noticed their children having anxiety about the future, 24 per cent noticed a decline in social development and 23 reported a decline in academic development.
Only 39 per cent of Canadian parents reported no significant impact on their kids after the pandemic. This group also had the “most favourable mental health,” ranking a mental health score seven points higher than the national average of 65.
According to the report, the anxiety level among children aged 15 and older is higher than the national average in Canada, and children between the ages of 10 and 14 are experiencing the worst effects on their mental health.
The impact on social development has been more universal, the report found, with parents of children between the ages of two and 18 all reporting detrimental effects.
A similar percentage of children between the ages of six and 18 are experiencing negative impacts on their academic development, the report said.
“As organizations consider the wellbeing support provided to employees, emphasis on parental needs and employee and family assistance programs is crucial,” Liptrap said.
“These resources are critical to ensuring that employees and their families can thrive, which benefits those families, their employers and society in general.”
OTHER FINDINGS The report also looked into the pandemic’s impacts on Canadians’ buying and investing decisions, and found that the way a company or brand treats its employees is considered more important than how the firm treats the environment.
Thirty-three per cent of Canadians are influenced by how a company treats their employees, as opposed to 13 per cent of those who are influenced by how a company behaves environmentally.
“We rightfully are concerned about organizations’ impact on the environment, but many organizations underestimate how important their impact on employees is to customers and investors,” Paula Allen, global leader and senior vice president of research and total well-being at LifeWorks, said in a release.
“The link between an organization’s support for employee well-being and organizational productivity, innovation, and customer service is crystal clear, and now so is the link to consumer buying and investing preferences.”
LifeWorks’ overall Mental Health Index for July 2022 improved by nearly a point from the previous month, from 64.1 to 65 out of 100 points. LifeWorks also reports that there has been improvement in all mental health sub-scores since June.
The sub-scores against pre-pandemic benchmarks include financial risk, psychological health, isolation, work productivity, anxiety, depression and optimism.
According to the report, mental health scores declined in British Columbia, Alberta and the Maritimes, although improvements were seen in every other province. Quebec showed the highest improvement.
LifeWorks’ latest monthly index is based on an online English and French survey with 3,000 responses collected between July 7 and 13, 2022. All respondents reside in Canada and are currently employed or were employed within the last six months, according to the index.
The HR company, formerly known as Morneau Shepell, says that individual responses are converted into point values using a response scoring system to produce the Mental Health Index. Better mental health and a lower risk of mental health are related to higher point values.
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