It goes without saying that the pandemic has left, and will continue to leave, a lasting mark on our lives.
In collaboration with The Canadian Child Care Federation, the Canadian Mental Health Association, and YWCA Canada, The Burnout Crisis: A Call to Invest in ECE and Child and Youth Workers puts forward areas requiring further research and exploration on how to better support the mental health of front line workers – particularly those experiencing marginalization.
Extensive research makes clear the significant impact the pandemic has had on the global economy, our mental health, our healthcare system, and countless other facets of society. COVID-19 has transformed the way workplaces are structured, how we care for one another, and our outlook for the future.
Thirty-seven percent (37%) of Canadians report a deterioration in their mental health since the onset of the pandemic. 1 As this brief will explore, the impact on frontline staff working with children and youth is disproportionately high and yet only one third of employees have access to programs to prevent burnout.2 Additionally, only one third of employees say they would feel comfortable talking to their supervisor about mental health issues and believe this would not impact their career.3
One in three Canadians are worried about their finances and 16% worry about having enough food 4. The social determinants of health like employment, food security, adequate housing, and income supports all contribute to our mental health and well-being5. The pandemic has put pressure on these supports, causing an increase in mental health challenges. This is particularly felt by those working with children and youth who often earn low wages and are in precarious work.
We need to see systemic-level change across all levels of government to address the immediate and pressing workforce issues that are experienced by Early Childhood Educators and Child and Youth Workers. In order to address these challenges holistically, we also need to see increased investment in community-based mental health supports and affordable child care for all people in Canada.