Just as Canadians are experiencing pandemic fatigue after two long years, research suggests that Canadians may also be experiencing “empathy fatigue.” The latest survey conducted by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and UBC researchers, Assessing the Impacts of COVID-19 on Mental Health, shows that feelings of empathy have eroded over the course of the pandemic, with only 13% of Canadians feeling empathetic, down markedly since the onset of the pandemic (from 23%).
Empathy is the ability to understand another’s perspective and feelings.
Canadians stressed about the future as COVID-19 leads to long-term mental health effects
Far Far from feeling the pandemic is over, most people in Canada are stressed about what’s next, with 64% worried about new variants and 57% worried about COVID-19 circulating in the population for years to come. Two years of pandemic-related stressors, including grief and trauma, are likely to lead to significant long-term mental health effects on both our population and the frontline mental health providers caring for them. This is according to Round 4 of the Assessing the Impacts of COVID-19 on Mental Health national monitoring survey by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) in partnership with UBC researchers.
The CMHA/UBC survey also reveals that 37% of Canadians are as worried about lost social connections (37%) and being separated from friends and family (39%) as they are about getting sick with COVID (39%).
CMHA/UBC data released in March 2022 shows that 37% of Canadians have experienced a decline in their mental health since the start of the pandemic.
The release of these data on empathy and strained relationships couldn’t be timelier as it coincides with the 71st annual Mental Health Week, May 2-8, 2022.This year’s theme is the importance of empathy.
- Learn more about mental health and empathy at www.mentalhealthweek.ca
- Share your support on social media by downloading a toolkit and using hashtags #GetReal and #MentalHealthWeek
- Donate to support CMHA mental health programs and services at www.cmha.ca/donate
- Connect. If you or someone you love is struggling, please contact your local CMHA or visit the Government of Canada’s Wellness Together portal. If you are in crisis, please call 1-833-456-4566 toll free in Canada (1-866-277-3553 in Quebec) or dial 911.
A summary of key findings – Round 4: Assessing the Impacts of COVID-19 on Mental Health can be found here.