Record alcohol-related deaths, increase in opioid deaths: How the pandemic is affecting people across the globe

COVID-19 is having negative effects on mental health of people globally
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The COVID-19 pandemic has had serious mental health effects on people across the globe, from an increase in alcohol-related deaths in the UK to declining mental health of youth in Canada.

The virus has killed over 2 million people worldwide since it first surfaced in 2019, but has also had serious effects on people worldwide who weren’t infected.

A recent BBC report suggests that alcohol deaths hit a “record high” during the first nine months of 2020, shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began.

England and Wales recorded 5,460 deaths related to alcohol consumption and abuse in those nine months, and according to the Office for National Statistics, this is a 16.4 per cent increase over the same time period in the year prior.

Meanwhile in Canada, the pandemic has had serious side effects on Canadians’ mental health, with youth experiencing the greatest declines, according to Statistics Canada.

In addition, the Public Health Agency of Canada revealed that a staggering 1,628 opioid-related deaths occurred between April and June 2020, citing a 58 per cent increase compared to between January and March 2020.

Statistics Canada also reported that those reporting poor mental health are “up to 4 times more likely to report increased substance use.”

In fact, since the pandemic began, 16.2 per cent of Canadians reported increasing their alcohol consumption, 6.1 per cent reported increasing cannabis and 4.8 per cent reported increasing their tobacco use. 

The numbers are rising all over the world, signalling alarm bells and highlighting the detrimental mental health effects the pandemic has had on people across the globe.

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