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CMHA and UBC release new data on empathy and challenged relationships during Mental Health Week 2022 – May 2-8


Only 13% of Canadians are feeling empathetic, down markedly from two years ago

Just as Canadians are experiencing pandemic fatigue after two long years, research suggests that Canadians may also be experiencing “empathy fatigue.” The latest survey conducted by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and UBC researchers shows that feelings of empathy have eroded over the course of the pandemic, with only 13% of Canadians feeling empathetic, down markedly since the onset of the pandemic (from 23%).

Empathy is the ability to understand another’s perspective and feelings. This is the theme of Mental Health Week 2022, May 2-8th.

“The decline in empathy that we are seeing is concerning,” says Margaret Eaton, National CEO, CMHA. “If we are to resolve our conflicts in relationships, in society and globally, we need to understand one another, even when we don’t agree.”

The CMHA/UBC survey also reveals that 37% of Canadians are as worried about lost social connections (37%) and being separated from friends and family (39%) as they are about getting sick with COVID (39%).

CMHA/UBC data released in March 2022 shows that 37% of Canadians have experienced a decline in their mental health since the start of the pandemic.

“The deterioration of social relationships that we see in the data comes at a time when we need each other more than ever,” says Dr. Emily Jenkins, UBC professor who co-led the research.
“Empathy is essential not only for building positive and healthy relationships, but also for reducing divisions between people, and in our communities. And the good news is, it is an emotional response that can be cultivated.”

The release of these data on empathy and strained relationships couldn’t be timelier as it coincides with the 71st annual Mental Health Week, May 2-8, 2022.This year’s theme is the importance of empathy.

Mental Health Week is sponsored by Major Sponsor Beneva as well as The Medicine Shoppe, Workplace Strategies for Mental Health (Canada Life) and Not Myself Today. To get involved, you can:

Locally, CMHA Waterloo Wellington is offering:

Monday May 2nd

CMHA National Event, Exploring Empathy: 12:00-1:00pm

Building Resilience Webinar: 3:00pm-4:00pm

Tuesday, May 3rd

Workplace Mental Health: 12:30pm-1:30pm   

Finding the Balance Webinar: 7:00pm-8:15pm

Wednesday, May 4th

Physical Health for Mental Health: 12:00-1:00pm

Thursday, May 5th

Understanding Mental Health: 10am-11am 

Value of Lived Experience: 2:00pm-3:00pm

Demonstrate empathy in action by participating in the Shopper’s Run for Women in support of CMHA WW on Sunday May 15th. Sign up at Run for Women – Waterloo, ON before May 10th and use the promo code CMHAWATERLOO for $5 off registration, which includes a swag bag worth more than $100! We are also in need of event volunteers for the run. Multiple positions available! Come and cheer on the runners, be a course marshal, hand out water or food, give out swag bags, and more! Fun for the whole family. You will receive a t-shirt and your own swag bag! Click here to learn more.

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