Mental health | Greater Montreal more vulnerable to confinement

Quebec will have to focus on the impact of health measures on the mental health of certain vulnerable groups, in particular in the Montreal region. This is what a new survey of more than 3,000 respondents recommends, which also reveals that one in ten Quebecers considers that their mental health has deteriorated during confinement.

Posted on October 16, 2020 at 12:00 a.m.

Henri Ouellette-Vézina

According to the study, led by the Center interuniversitaire de recherche en analyze des organizations (CIRANO), women, people under 35, students, residents of Greater Montreal and households with a gross income of less than 35,000 $ are “more likely” to see their “quality of life related to mental health” (QVRSM) decrease, even after complete deconfinement. It also includes individuals who already had a health problem before the pandemic.

“Women have suffered more from the situation than men, just like the citizens of Greater Montreal compared to the rest of Quebec. For all of these people, there will be a need for support, in terms of policies. In access to care, we should pay more particular attention to them, ”explains one of the study’s authors, Thomas Poder, from the University of Montreal.

In order to reach these conclusions, the researcher conducted a “random online survey” at various times since the start of confinement last spring. A first probe was carried out between March 13 and April 3, then a second between May 21 and June 4. The study was also replicated more recently, between July 29 and August 17.

From 1,500 to 1,700 people took part in the exercise each time. The data has also been transferred to the Government of Quebec.

Montreal reality

“Confinement or not, we know that people have a poorer quality of life in Greater Montreal. However, it seems that the situation has accentuated this phenomenon, ”adds Poder. Thus, in the metropolis, improving the quality of life would go through “the development of green areas, of an efficient transport network, in short everything that makes people feel less anxious on a daily basis”, underlines the specialist. “It also means putting more emphasis on aid mechanisms. During the crisis, we gave compensation to people who lost their jobs. We could perhaps expand, ”he illustrates.

What is clear for us is above all that it is the socioeconomically disadvantaged people who have suffered the most.

Thomas Poder, researcher at the University of Montreal

Tuesday, a survey by the firm IFOP revealed that 12% of employees have seen their mental health deteriorate since the start of confinement, in France. One-fifth of those people have chronic illnesses, according to the study. In addition, approximately 45% of the 3,500 people then questioned say they are “more tired physically and psychologically” than before the health crisis.

In Quebec, the figures are relatively “similar”, reports Thomas Poder. Out of a sample of approximately 2,580 Quebecers, there are 295 (or 11.4%) who believe that their mental health has deteriorated. “About 20%, however, maintain that it improved during containment. We can therefore deduce that about 70% of people have not seen any change in this chapter, ”says the researcher.

Quebec says act

Called to react, the office of the Minister for Health and Social Services, Lionel Carmant, indicates that several measures have been “put in place or improved” since the start of the crisis to help the most vulnerable.

“An amount of 31.1 million has been granted to establishments of the health and social services network to ensure an optimal response to the current psychosocial needs of the population and to those which may arise beyond the management of the crisis. », Indicates the director of communications, Marie Barrette.

More than 40% of all emergency funding was granted to establishments in Montreal.

Marie Barrette, spokesperson for Minister Lionel Carmant

Quebec also ensures that several emergency funds have been set up, including aid of 17.6 million in the community mental health network and another of 90 million to ensure that services are offered “to all vulnerable clienteles ”. The Food Banks of Quebec also recently received additional support of $ 2 million.

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