COVID-19 survey finds B.C.’s young people, families with young children impacted by pandemic

A survey of more than 400,000 British Columbians found that young people and families with young children were impacted the most by the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deputy Provincial Health Officer Dr. Réka Gustafson says young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 suffered a higher rate of declining mental health this spring.

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They were also more likely to have had their job prospects impacted by the pandemic. The survey found 27 per cent of respondents in that age range did not have a job due to the pandemic, well above the overall total of 16 per cent.

The pandemic also affected households with young children with more than three-quarters reporting impaired learning for children and fewer social connections with friends while just over half reported worsening mental health.

The survey also showed those in lower income brackets were more likely to report job losses and declining mental health, among other impacts of the pandemic.

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Gustafson noted that although the survey was conducted in the spring during the COVID-19’s first wave, the data is still relevant.

Jat Sandhu, an epidemiology consultant with the centre, said the survey data has been used by a working group that monitors the health and social consequences of the pandemic and public health rules aimed at fighting COVID-19.

—  With files from Nadia Stewart and The Canadian Press

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