The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on the substance use health and mental health of 2SLGBTQ+ communities when compared with other communities due to increases in social, political and economic inequities. That’s one of the findings of the latest Leger survey, Mental Health and Substance Use During COVID-19: Spotlight On 2SLGBTQ+ Communities in Canada.
Prepared for the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) and the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), this report is being released during Pride Month.
Findings from the survey results show:
- About one in four (24%) 2SLGBTQ+ respondents reported excellent or very good mental health during the pandemic, compared with nearly half (43%) of other respondents.
- Almost half (46%) of 2SLGBTQ+ respondents reported moderate to severe anxiety symptoms, while fewer than a quarter (22%) of other respondents reported feeling the same.
- About 30% of 2SLGBTQ+ respondents who consume alcohol reported consuming more, compared with 20% of other respondents.
- About 20% of 2SLGBTQ+ respondents who use cannabis reported using more since the start of the pandemic, compared with 10% of other respondents.
- 2SLGBTQ+ respondents reported finances being a significant barrier to accessing mental health and substance use services, and overall reported facing more barriers than other respondents to accessing mental health services.
- 30% of 2SLGBTQ+ respondents and 40% of 2SLBTQ+ youth respondents reported accessing virtual mental health services since the start of the pandemic; fewer reported accessing in-person services.
- 2SLGBTQ+ ethno-racialized respondents were more likely to report thoughts of suicide and anxiety and depression symptoms, compared with other respondents.
Collectively, these findings highlight the importance of continued investment in gender diverse and culturally relevant mental health and substance use supports for 2SLGBTQ+ communities and the need to address barriers to access.
For more information, you can download the survey report on the MHCC website and find a comprehensive list of resources on substance use and COVID-19 in CCSA’s online resource centre.
We also encourage you to continue sharing the Wellness Together Canada portal with your networks, particularly with those contacts working with youth, for free tools, resources, and mental health and substance use support for everyone in Canada.