Parents have had a challenging time throughout the pandemic, with many trying to balance work commitments with caring for their children. A new study has found it’s taken a brutal toll on the mental health of moms in Canada, whose anxiety and depression has nearly doubled in the last year.
Thirty-five per cent of the mothers who were surveyed reported symptoms of depression last year, a rise of 16 per cent compared to before the pandemic. Researchers found significant increases in depression and anxiety, in particular, for women who had income disruptions, challenges with balancing home schooling with work responsibilities and those who struggled to find childcare.
Related: Canadians are struggling with anxiety and depression more than ever, according to poll.
It was also discovered that moms whose families experienced financial strain in the form of loss of income or employment as a result of the pandemic had greater increases in mental health symptoms than those who did not.
With many parents having to take on homeschooling while working from home, a surprising revelation was that mothers who had more than one child did not experience any differences in symptoms of depression or anxiety versus those with an only child.
Another interesting finding revealed that white mothers had larger increases in anxiety symptoms than racialized moms, however more than 80 per cent of the study’s participants were white women, which creates a gap in what the impact is on a greater number of women of colour.
As the pandemic continues, the study authors suggest offering financial support, childcare provision and avoiding shuttering schools as potential solutions to prevent future increases in poor mental health for Canadian moms.
Related: Women are carrying Canadian households through the pandemic, study says.