Mental Health and the High Cost of Living in Canada

Mental Health and the High Cost of Living in Canada

Table of Contents

The high cost of living in Canada has led to increased financial insecurity, pressures on food and housing affordability, and income inequality — all of which significantly impact mental health and well-being. Financial struggles are a common experience for many Canadians, and the toll they take on mental health is profound and multifaceted.

The Connection Between Financial Security and Mental Health

Financial security and mental health have always been closely linked. Those at lower income levels often experience higher rates of negative mental health outcomes. Mental health problems can lead to financial insecurity, creating a vicious cycle. High inflation has made it even harder for many households to meet their financial needs or cover unexpected expenses, increasing the risk of mental health issues.

Key Issues:

  • Inflation: It has become challenging for households to manage daily expenses and unexpected costs.
  • Poverty and Low Income: These factors put people at greater risk for mental illness, exacerbate existing mental health concerns, and create significant barriers to accessing necessary services.

Examples of the Cost of Living in Ontario in 2024

Living in Ontario in 2024 presents several financial challenges due to high costs across various essential expenses. Here are some examples:

Rent:

  • The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto is approximately $2,500.
  • In smaller cities like Hamilton or London, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment ranges from $1,800 to $2,200 per month.

Car Payments:

  • The average monthly payment for a new car is around $880, while for a used car, it is approximately $400.
  • Additional costs for car insurance can range from $150 to $250 per month, depending on the driver’s age, location, and driving history.

Grocery Bills:

  • The average monthly grocery bill for a family of four in Ontario is about $1,200 to $1,500.
  • For a single person, the monthly grocery bill can range from $300 to $500.

Required Income to Maintain Cost of Living

To maintain the cost of living in Ontario, considering the provided examples of rent, car payments, and grocery bills, an average income needs to cover these essential expenses comfortably.

For an Individual:

  • Toronto: $88,800 per year
  • Smaller cities: $72,000 – $81,600 per year

For a Family of Four:

  • Toronto: $118,800 per year
  • Smaller cities: $102,000 – $111,600 per year

The Growing Debt Burden

The basic cost of living has become so high that the burden of carrying ever-growing debt on top of these expenses is more than most people can sustain. Many Canadians find themselves using credit cards and other forms of debt to cover essential living costs, which can quickly become unmanageable. This growing debt burden exacerbates financial stress and negatively impacts mental health, creating a situation where people feel trapped and unable to find a way out.

To give people a fighting chance to stay afloat with their finances, it’s crucial they find ways to eliminate or significantly reduce their debt. This is where solutions like bankruptcy and consumer proposals become vital. These options can help individuals manage their debt, allowing them to focus on meeting their living expenses without the overwhelming pressure of debt hanging over them.

Access to Mental Health Services

From 2020 to 2022, the high cost of living in Canada magnified inequities in access to mental health services, particularly for those with low incomes. Individuals in this demographic are among the least likely to report having a regular primary care provider. Without employment benefits, private mental health services remain out of reach for many due to high costs. While free virtual services and publicly funded community-based services are available, they often have long wait times and limited visits, making it hard to get sustained support.

Financial Security and Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is a growing problem in Canada, with 9 million Canadians living in food-insecure households in 2022. This insecurity not only affects physical health but also significantly impacts mental health, increasing the risk of anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses.

Key Facts:

  • Financial Pressures: 41% of respondents feel that financial pressures are affecting their mental health.
  • Housing Concerns: 23% are worried about their ability to make rent or mortgage payments, leading to higher anxiety levels.
  • Food Insecurity: 40% struggle to adequately feed themselves or their families, which impacts their mental health.
  • Access to Care: 28% cite inability to pay as a reason for not accessing mental health care, despite needing it.

Unaffordable Housing

Living in unsafe, insecure, or unaffordable housing is known to negatively impact mental health and well-being. The high cost of living has led to increases in the unhoused and precariously housed populations, who already face poor mental health outcomes.

The Rate of Divorce

Financial stress is a significant contributor to marital breakdowns. The high cost of living can strain relationships, leading to increased rates of divorce. The emotional toll of a failing marriage combined with financial stress can severely impact mental health. Divorce often leads to a decrease in financial stability, which can create additional stress and anxiety for both parties.

Finding Relief With David Sklar & Associates

While these issues are complex and multifaceted, there are effective solutions available to provide relief. As financial pressures continue to mount, government programs like bankruptcy and consumer proposals can be crucial in helping individuals regain control of their finances and improve their mental well-being.

If you are struggling with debt and its impact on your mental health, reaching out to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee can be the first step towards relief. At David Sklar & Associates, we specialize in helping individuals navigate the complexities of bankruptcy and consumer proposals. Our team is dedicated to providing the support and guidance you need to make informed decisions and take control of your financial future. Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your options and start your journey toward financial stability and improved mental health.

Take Your First Step Towards A Debt Free Life

If you are overwhelmed by debt, call us at 1-844-962-9200 to book a FREE, confidential appointment. We will review your financial situation in detail and discuss all of your options with you. Alternatively, you can fill out the form below and our team will reach out to you. 

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