The mental health impacts of COVID-19 on Nova Scotians

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic and public health measures to reduce person to person spread of the disease have profoundly impacted the way we live, work, and connect with each other. These disruptions to daily life often vary from one jurisdiction to another, may affect different groups of people in different ways, and have the potential to impact on mental health.  

About the project

To better understand the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of people living in Nova Scotia, this research project:

  1. Studied the self-reported impact that physical, social, and economic factors have had on the mental health of Nova Scotians during the COVID-19 pandemic using survey data.
  2. Examined trends in mental health service utilization before and during the COVID-19 pandemic using administrative health data and mental health system utilization data.

The project was led by the Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit (MSSU) in collaboration with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness (DHW), Nova Scotia Health (NSH), and Patient Partners, who provided important contextual knowledge of the impacts of the pandemic on mental health. Research Nova Scotia facilitated access to the survey data which was collected by Mental Health Research Canada (MHRC) and Pollara Strategic Insights.

This work follows on a similar analysis by New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training (NB-IRDT), which facilitated cross-comparisons between self-reported data from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. 

Findings

This research provided a snapshot of the self-reported mental health impacts of COVID-19 on Nova Scotians in August 2020 (six months after the state of emergency was declared), and the changes in mental health service use before and during the pandemic. 

This study provides a blueprint for working with health system stakeholders and Patient Partners to use available data to understand the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of Nova Scotians, monitor how these changes impact the health system, and help to identify areas of need and guide planning and resource allocation as we navigate our ongoing response to the pandemic and look towards recovery. 

Project Leads

  • Dr. Amy Grant, Senior Health Policy Researcher, Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit (MSSU)
  • Kathryn Young-Shand, Data Scientist, Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness
  • Steve Patterson, Data Scientist, Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness

Contact

Elizabeth Jeffers
Research Manager
Elizabeth.Jeffers@nshealth.ca
902-473-7607