Survey reports more binge drinking among Canadian Moms

by Dec 16, 2020Community, Health

How’s Mom doing during the pandemic? Not good, according to a series of surveys by Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). She’s anxious, depressed and binge drinking.

The mental health of women and parents appear to be particularly affected during the pandemic. For example, the survey of 1,003 adults, conducted between November 27 and December 1, 2020—as we entered into the holiday season—found that nearly a quarter of women (24.3 percent) reported feeling depressed occasionally or most of the time in the past week, which is significantly higher than among men (18.9 percent).

Overall six surveys, parents with children still at home reported higher levels of anxiety as compared to those without children.

The survey reveals that one in four of us has moderate to severe anxiety levels. Those respondents reported that they felt lonely occasionally or most of the time in the past week. Overall six surveys, women reported higher levels of loneliness as compared to men. Just over 20 percent of participants reported feeling depressed occasionally or most of the time in the past week.

How are we coping?

When we’re down, we’re not afraid to ask for help. 19.4 percent of participants reported seeking help for mental health concerns from a counsellor or health care provider (online or in-person) at least once during the past week.

The top activities engaged in by participants to help cope with the pandemic included connecting socially with friends or family online or over the phone (92.3 percent), making time to relax (91.2 percent), and following a routine (91.9 percent).

However, we’re also turning to the bottle.

More than a quarter (25.7 percent) of participants reported binge drinking in the previous week.

“That number is too high—and did not significantly change over recent months, despite the ups and downs of the pandemic,” said CAMH psychiatrist Dr. David Gratzer. “High levels of drinking are less than ideal and could haunt people. After all, alcohol is addictive. The longer people engage in this unfortunate coping strategy, the harder it will be to change, I suspect.”

That’s a concern shared by college Dr. Hayley Hamilton, senior scientist at the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research at CAMH.  “The long-term mental health effects of the pandemic are as yet unknown,” she says. “While this is our final planned 2020 survey, CAMH researchers are considering subsequent research to better understand and respond to the mental health fallout of the pandemic and monitor its after-affects.

“What we do know for certain is that there has long been an under-investment in mental health. We need adequate funding to make sure we have research and health supports for Canadians’ mental wellness, including a focus on mental health promotion, prevention and treatment.”

The series is made possible by a collaboration with Methodify by Delvinia, an automated research platform that connects organizations to real people to gain actionable data and insights. Results are based on responses from 1,003 English-speaking Canadians ages 18 and older via an online survey of the Asking Canadians web panel, reflecting a distribution of age, gender, and region. The survey was in market between November 27 and December 1, 2020.

An interactive dashboard highlighting findings from each of the six surveys can be viewed on CAMH’s website at