The onset of COVID-19 and the introduction of lockdown practices to prevent its spread have raised considerable concerns about their impact on mental health, and the potential for an ‘echo pandemic’ of mental health problems.
For this reason, the City of Toronto announced a mental health support strategy in April of 2020, urging residents to call 211 in order to connect them to partnered mental health support organizations. Residents could reach 211 Central 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through the phone or through online. Use of this support line offers us a window into the impact of COVID-19 on mental health.
Accordingly, the purpose of this study is to examine trends in calls made to 211 Central for mental health supports before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.