Quebecers in full psychological distress

During the health crisis of the COVID-19, the level of psychological distress of workers in quebec has exploded, reports a study led by a professor of the University Laval.

Between 30 April and 7 may 2020, a web-based survey was conducted with a sample of 1259 Quebec professionally active, even during the confinement.

The results demonstrated that 56 % of women and 41% men, an average of 49 % were suffering from psychological distress high. This is an increase of 20 % compared to data from the Institut de la statistique du Québec in its Investigation of quebec’s population health published in 2015.

The field of health and social services is particularly affected in times of pandemic. Approximately 60 % of respondents from this sector reported suffering from significant distress.

“The poor child “

“A good part is related to the current crisis, but it is related with factors that were already known such as working conditions, support from colleagues, recognition, etc “, explains Caroline Biron, professor of administration at Université Laval and director of the Centre of expertise in the management of health and safety in the workplace, which is leading the study.

Les Québécois en pleine détresse psychologique

Caroline Biron
Professor, Université Laval

According to her, the psychological health has always been the “poor child” of the universe of the health and safety at work, the one which is last employed. A situation that is all the more evident with the current crisis.

“The problem is that at this time we said that it was a big deal to settle [with the pandemic] and this pushes it to a later date, then that [it] will make things worse. That is to say, the house burns down, but that was not the time to call the fire brigade “, image Ms. Biron.

The responsibility of companies

According to this study, all respondents working for an employer who has the mental health of its employees at heart, only 37 % had elevated distress. While for those who are engaged by organizations that are not ” benevolent “, this figure climbs to 61 %.

Companies could usefully take this aspect into account, says the professor. Especially in this time where the context of the work has been revisited to adapt to the health crisis.

“There are 12 % more employee organizations, “caring”, which have a very high rate of performance compared to those who are not, during the confinement “, she says.

Three other waves of this survey will be carried out in the year 2020 to see the evolution of the mental health of québec workers, after the containment.

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