Pandemic and Mental Health: Rising Substance Use Among LGBTQIA2S

Members of LGBTQIA2S communities have been more affected by mental health problems and rising substance use than the rest of the population, according to several national surveys reported by the Mental Health Commission of Canada on Wednesday.

Pandemic and Mental Health: Rising Substance Use Among LGBTQIA2S

Members of LGBTQIA2S communities have been more affected by mental health problems and rising substance use than the rest of the population, according to several national surveys reported by the Mental Health Commission of Canada on Wednesday.

LGBTQIA2S people reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts at far higher rates than the general population according to a series of surveys conducted by Leger during COVID-19.

About 30% of LGBTQIA2S respondents who drink alcohol said they had increased their consumption since the start of the pandemic, a rate 50% higher than among non-LGBTQIA2S respondents.

Regarding cannabis use, about 20% of respondents reported using more, twice as much as non-LGBTQIA2S respondents.

Among young people aged 16 to 24, 60% reported moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety during the pandemic; around 40% have reported symptoms of depression and nearly 30% have reported suicidal thoughts since the start of the pandemic.

Overall, only one in five racialized LGBTQIA2S respondents reported having excellent or very good mental health.

“We are sharing this report as Pride celebrations take place this summer to recognize that 2SLGBTQ communities have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic due to increased social, political and economic inequality,” said Michel. Rodrigue, President and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada

LGBTQIA2S respondents cite finances as the biggest barrier to accessing mental health and addictions services.

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