The Victoria Foundation has indicated that residents in the community are reporting declines in mental health, physical health and quality of life in the latest annual Victoria’s Vital Signs survey.
In the 2020 edition of the Victoria’s Vital Signs report, the Victoria Foundation suggests that 51 per cent of residents have felt a decline in their mental health due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The data released on Friday also indicates that 40 per cent of survey respondents pointed to declines in their physical health.
The Victoria Foundation suggests that the events experienced in 2020 – including the COVID-19 pandemic, the worldwide movement for racial justice, and the disruptions of daily lives – have not just impacted people mentally and physically, but have also changed how residents perceive the region.
“While we’ve been fortunate in our community to avoid the worst possible outcomes these monumental events and movements have exposed and deepened many of the shortcomings in our society that have long been here,” said Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson,
The Victoria Foundation says the results of the survey – responded to by nearly 1,800 residents in the region – offer a snapshot of how Greater Victoria is faring on 12 key issue areas.
“This year’s survey also included specific COVID-19-related questions and the report itself features Pandemic Snapshots, offering evidence-based insights on the impact of COVID-19 on our region,” reads a statement from the Victoria Foundation.
According to the latest Vital Signs data, the overall quality of life, as graded by survey respondents, has dropped from a B+ in 2019 to a B this year.
This year’s survey also has seen nine out of the 12 key issue areas change in grade from 2019.
“This follows two consecutive years without a single change in grades,” the Victoria Foundation points out.
The most drastic of the grade changes centres around the issue area of ‘Getting Started,’ which looks at how Greater Victoria fares in offering opportunities to newcomers and young people. This key issue fell from a B- in 2019 to a D+ in 2020, tying it with ‘Housing’ as the lowest-graded key issue in the report.
Seven of the 12 categories scored a B overall, which was the highest mark overall in 2020.
Other significant data in the report outlines that
Other data in the report revealed that 34 per cent of jobs for residents under 25 years old disappeared between February and May of this year, with young women having it especially hard, experiencing a 41 per cent drop in employment. That mark compares to 27 per cent for males.
In addition, 29 per cent have reported they’ve experienced a job or income loss.
Overall, 74 per cent of respondents feel the pandemic is a major threat to the local economy.
When looking at the most important issues facing Greater Victoria, the 2020 Vital Signs survey saw a big leap in homelessness, which climbed from eighth in 2019 to third this year. The two bigger issues in the eyes of survey responders continue to be Cost of Living and Housing.
The top three best things about Greater Victoria remain the same from 2019, with Natural Environment, Climate and Air Quality taking the top spots.
Read the full version of the 15th annual Victoria’s Vital Signs survey on the Victoria Foundation’s website.