COVID-19 has worsened Vancouver residents' mental health, savings, outlook: poll
Vancouver's skyline is seen in an image from CTV News Vancouver's Pete Cline captured in May 2019 from Chopper 9
VANCOUVER -- With COVID-19 continuing to impact daily life for most Vancouver residents, a recent survey conducted by the city suggests mental health, future outlook, finances and overall comfort levels are worse off because of the virus.
Earlier this month, the City of Vancouver launched a public survey to measure the impacts of COVID-19. The first survey ran from July 7 to 13 and 3,295 responses were gathered.
During that week, about 20 new cases of the virus were being reported each day.
According to the survey's results, which were released Wednesday, the "vast majority" of Vancouverites have experienced challenges because of the virus. One of the most common challenges, for 78 per cent of respondents, has been fewer recreation and leisure activities.
Savings, income and job security have also been impacted for more than a third of locals, the survey suggests.
While job losses and reduced activities may not be a surprise, the pandemic has also had a significant impact on overall mental health and feelings of comfort and safety.
The survey's results say 88 per cent of respondents' comfort level of being in public has worsened, while 72 per cent say they have a poorer outlook on the future. And 62 per cent say their mental health has suffered.
Last week, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addressed studies suggesting residents across the province were struggling with mental health because of COVID-19, calling it a "surprise to no one."
According to Henry, younger people are being even more impacted in this area.
"Younger people were more likely to report decreased mental health, increased difficulty in accessing counselling, not working, difficulty in meeting your financial needs, and likely to have to move because of affordability," Henry said last week.
Feedback on the city's pandemic plan
The city's survey also polled residents on how its response to the pandemic has been. Nearly 70 per cent said they were at least aware that the city was making efforts to curb the spread of the virus and about 60 per cent said they were satisfied with city's response.
But for those who said they were dissatisfied with the city's response, crowd management in parks, on streets and on the seawall were top of mind.
"The city waited months to do anything about outdoor space for pedestrians. People were walking in the streets for physical distancing, putting themselves in danger of being hit by cars," one respondent said.
Some also said they think masks should be mandatory in restaurants and businesses and fines should be implemented for lack of physical distancing.
The city says it will be conducting these surveys monthly, with the next one opening to the public for response on Aug. 4.