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40 Per Cent of Canadian Young Adults are at a Mental Health Breaking Point: Survey

Young woman in green hoodie standing outside

Living through a global pandemic has affected us all in myriad ways, including our mental health and wellness. While the scope of this impact can be challenging to articulate, a new survey reveals how deeply the past two years have impacted the mental health of Canadians — especially young Canadian adults.

How many young adults are at their breaking point for mental health?

According to a new national mental health assessment by Maru Public Opinion, 40 per cent of young adults (aged 18 to 34) feel like they’re at a mental health breaking point right now — a number which is made more staggering when we consider that it’s 16 per cent higher than the national average of 24 per cent.

As we reach the two-year mark since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the results of the survey (which was conducted in late January 2022 and looked at the responses of over 1,500 randomly selected Canadian adults) suggest further areas of mental-health-related concern for that 18-to-34-year-old age group. 

When it comes to concerns about the future, for example, 53 per cent of young adults indicated that they were “worried sick,” which is 10 per cent higher than the national average of 43 per cent. 

Related: Pandemic is harder on women than men, research says.

Concerning the people around these young adults, 49 per cent said that they knew of someone in their immediate family or friend circle who had suffered a mental health crisis in the past year (which is 12 per cent higher than the national average of 37 per cent). Similarly, 59 per cent of the young adults surveyed were very worried about the mental health of people in their family (which is also 12 per cent higher than the national average of 47 per cent).

Finally, one of the most urgent points points from the survey related to respondents who indicating having recently experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings: 27 per cent of young adults reported this — a rate which is nearly double the national average of 15 is per cent.

Related: Women are carrying Canadian households through the pandemic, study says.


One possible contributing factor to the increased mental health crisis for young adults could be a disconnect in access to mental health services. Specifically, the survey showed that 32 per cent of the young adults surveyed indicated that they needed professional mental health, but were unable to access those services (compared to the national average of 17 per cent). 

Hopefully, as we move forward, young adults will be given more access to mental health services to help alleviate some of the challenges that the past two years have brought forward.

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