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Morneau Shepell's Mental Health Index™ shows biggest decline of mental well-being in the Prairies

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Morneau Shepell's Mental Health Index™ shows biggest decline of mental well-being in the Prairies

Full report compares impact of COVID-19 on stress and overall mental health across Canada

TORONTO, April 20, 2020 /CNW/ - Following the release of preliminary research earlier this month, Morneau Shepell today launched its full Mental Health Index™ report. The report highlights the differences among provinces, showing a notable change in the Prairies.  

The Mental Health Index™ showed the biggest decline in mental health and well-being within Alberta (-14.3), Manitoba (-13.5) and Saskatchewan (-12.9) against the benchmark of 75. In comparison, the Maritimes (-12.4), Quebec (-12.2), British Columbia (-11.0) and Newfoundland and Labrador (-10.9) fared slightly better and Ontario (-10.7) had the smallest drop compared to the pre-2020 benchmark of 75.

"Expanding our research to identify the more granular trends affecting individuals in Canada was critical to better inform our support for those in need," said Stephen Liptrap, president and chief executive officer. "While we expect individuals to feel different levels of anxiety depending on their unique situation, one thing that remains true is that business leaders have a responsibility to support the well-being of their people. Providing targeted, informed support that specifically addresses the anxieties individuals are facing is critical, especially in challenging times."

When analyzing individual households, those who identify as female were significantly more likely to report a negative impact to their mental health as a result of the pandemic, declining 14.6 points (compared to males declining 8.8 points). This trend followed for those in younger age groups (those aged 20-29 reporting the most negative impact), individuals that have lost their job in the past six months and those in the lowest income bracket (under $30,000 per annum).

Increase in mental stress scores
The report has also been expanded to compare the level of mental stress individuals have experienced as a result of COVID-19. The mental stress change score compares stress in the prior month to the current month. Comparing against a benchmark score of 50, which indicates no change from the prior month, Canada's mental stress change score increased to 74.7. Within the country, mental stress change scores increased in Newfoundland and Labrador (82.1), Alberta (77.5), Manitoba (77.4), the Maritime provinces (76.6), Saskatchewan (75.3), British Columbia (74.7), Ontario (75.5) and Quebec (72.1) – all against the benchmark score of 50.

"Our Mental Health Index™ report comes at a unique and important time," said Paula Allen, senior vice president of research, analytics and innovation. "As Canada nears its peak in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, we're also facing a pivotal moment in addressing the anxieties that individuals are facing as a result of the virus' impact on their daily lives. Now is the time to intervene with support programs, such as the internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy offering that the Government of Manitoba launched for its residents. This type of support can help prevent these mental health concerns from becoming a full-blown crisis."

About the Mental Health Index
The monthly survey by Morneau Shepell was conducted through an online survey in English and French from March 27 to March 30, 2020, with 3,000 respondents in Canada. All respondents reside in Canada and were employed within the last six months. The data has been statistically weighted to ensure the regional and gender composition of the sample reflect this population. The margins of error for the survey are +/- 3.2 per cent, valid 19 times out of 20. The Mental Health Index™ is published monthly, beginning April 2020, and compares against benchmark data collected in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The full report can be found at

About Morneau Shepell
Morneau Shepell is the leading provider of technology-enabled HR services that deliver an integrated approach to employee well-being through our cloud-based platform. Our focus is providing world-class solutions to our clients to support the mental, physical, social and financial well-being of their people. By improving lives, we improve business. Our approach spans services in employee and family assistance, health and wellness, recognition, pension and benefits administration, retirement consulting, actuarial and investment services. Morneau Shepell employs approximately 6,000 employees who work with some 24,000 client organizations that use our services in 162 countries. Morneau Shepell is a publicly traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: MSI). For more information, visit

SOURCE Morneau Shepell Inc.

For further information: Heather MacDonald, Morneau Shepell,, 855-622-3327; Catherine Snider, Kaiser Lachance Communications,, 416.419.8333