Survey results show common mental health concerns for Albertans, delays in seeking healthcare during pandemic

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“We’re learning a lot about what Albertans are experiencing with respect to health-care services, and their own health and wellness, as a result of the pandemic.”

Albertans also reported difficulty accessing health support services, increased use of cigarettes, cannabis and alcohol, difficulty balancing work and family, inability to visit a care facility, job loss and difficulty with taxes.

The survey was done as many public health restrictions were loosened and visitation to some care facilities reopened with careful monitoring.

Two-thirds of Albertans reported feeling protected from COVID-19 infection, but 30 per cent delayed seeking health care for other medical concerns.

“They believed the health-care system was overwhelmed with having to deal with COVID-19 and that did — to some degree — affect their health,” McBrien-Morrison said of the 22 per cent who said delaying health care affected their health greatly or quite a bit.

A majority of respondents said they have heavily relied on Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, as their most trusted source of information, followed by the Alberta Health website and Healthlink.

A pedestrian wearing a mask to protect against COVID-19 walks past a poster of Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw on July 29, 2020. Photo by David Bloom /Postmedia, file

On Thursday, when asked about the survey results, Hinshaw said she understands the rise in stress and anxiety.

“I recommend to those deciding whether or not to seek health care that, while we have had a couple of significant hospital outbreaks and those are a concern, the vast majority of health-care interactions, both in primary care clinics and hospitals and other health-care settings, we have not had any reported issues. While there are these two clear exceptions of the Misericordia and Foothills hospital outbreaks, the vast majority have cared for people without transmission,” said Hinshaw.

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