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COVID-19 first wave hit young people, families with young kids especially hard: B.C. poll

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WATCH: B.C.'s children's watchdog says the provincial government needs to make the mental health of children a high priority during - and after - the pandemic. Nadia Stewart reports. – Nov 12, 2020

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 said Friday that 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.

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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.

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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.

Read more: New study says B.C. government must focus on children’s mental health in COVID-19 recovery

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.
The data made available today through a tool on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website is broken down by region, community, ethnicity, age and other demographics.

—  With files from Nadia Stewart and The Canadian Press

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