TORONTO, ON –/COMMUNITYWIRE/– New data commissioned by Shift Collab, Canada’s leading online mental health practice and run on the Angus Reid Forum shows that Canadians feel pressure to achieve certain relationship and marriage goals because of outdated societal expectations and norms. The nationwide survey of 1,504 Canadians revealed a striking truth: while the pandemic shuffled timelines for family starts, engagements, marriages, and moving in together, seeing others achieve and celebrate these milestones has left Canadians with a mixture of isolation, anxiety and relationship status blues.
By safely spotting and managing these emotions, however, Canadians can confidently navigate the ups and downs while still wholeheartedly celebrating the successes of family and friends.
Key data highlights include:
“Canadians are experiencing the effects of missed milestones. Young Canadians, in particular, feel burdened by seeing their friends and family celebrate milestones on social media, causing feelings of compare and despair. Millennials and Gen Z are experiencing ambiguous grief in a digitally-driven world, and it’s crucial that they understand the social factors that lead to self-stigma,” said Megan Rafuse, CEO and Co-Founder of Shift Collab. “As a summer filled with weddings comes to a close, it’s more important than ever for Canadians to take control of their mental health journeys, and Shift Collab is on a mission to make mental healthcare more accessible to all Canadians.”
Factors Causing Internal Pressure
Over a third of unmarried Canadians (36 per cent) feel internal pressure to get married. Among those who feel this pressure, societal norms (29 per cent) and a desire to get married before having children (24 per cent) are the biggest drivers. Societal norms and children nearly double the other factors, including age, upbringing and friends and family being married.
Canadians are keenly aware of external pressure and internalize it when it comes to their own relationship status. Of the 36 per cent of Canadians that feel internal pressure to get married, more than half (54 per cent) are single. Due to their relationship status, half of those who are divorced (50 per cent) and four-in-ten (40 per cent) of those who are single (and never married) feel some internal pressure to get married. These insights uncover a truth: the struggles we face inside are big players in our mental health challenges. These pressures can make us feel not good enough, and become overwhelming without a trained mental health professional by your side.
The Pandemic Continues to Shape Opinions on Missed Milestones
The pandemic continues to heavily impact the mental health of Millennial and Gen Z Canadians, shaping their perspectives on relationship and marital milestones. For one-third of young Canadians aged 18-34 (33 per cent), the pandemic has impacted their expectations of when to start a family. Additionally, 28 per cent of this group agrees that their expectations of when to get married have changed since the pandemic.
Despite the new realities in post-pandemic life, many young Canadians still feel saddened by their own relationship status. Thirty one per cent agree that most people they know are in a relationship, making them feel isolated to not be in a relationship. For that same age group, 29 per cent agree that they are anxious about when they will get married, and 36 per cent agree they are anxious about when it will be that they start a family.
Isolation, Anxiety and the Ability to Feel Happy for Others
When it comes to missed milestones, it is clear that Canadians feel the impact of their peers achieving milestones while they have not. 60 per cent of Millennial and Gen Z Canadians say that at some point, they’ve felt isolated by a sense that almost everyone else was in a relationship when they were not. Moreover, about six-in-ten (59 per cent) single Canadians say that they’ve suffered a hit to their mental health due to their relationship status, either in the past or currently.
Missing milestones not only affects one’s own happiness but also their ability to be happy for others. 30 per cent of single Canadians say that their relationship status has an impact on their ability to be happy for friends and family when they reach milestones. In fact, over 1 in 5 (22 per cent) of young Canadians agree that seeing other people celebrate marriage on social media contributes to them being disappointed in their own relationship status. This shows the severe implications of worsened mental health.
The Need for Therapy in Navigating Missed Milestones
When asked about missing milestones, one-third of Canadians (32 per cent) have considered seeking therapy due to their relationship status. Among those who are separated or divorced, four-in-ten (41 per cent) say the same. No Canadian should ever feel alone in their feelings, and counseling can help them safely identify and take control of feelings of sadness, anxiety and depression.
To learn more about how Shift Collab can help through custom therapy matching, go to shiftcollab.com.
These are the findings of a survey conducted by Shift Collab from July 17 to August 2nd, 2023, among a representative sample of 1,500 online Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The survey was conducted in English and French. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/-2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
ABOUT SHIFT COLLAB
Shift Collab is Canada’s leading online mental health practice offering counseling and mental healthcare across the country. Shift Collab is the largest digital mental health company that is female and clinician owned. As a mass market boutique therapy brand, Shift Collab supports Canadians through custom therapy matching, helping Canadians find their version of better, virtually. For more details, visit shiftcollab.com.
ABOUT ANGUS REID
Angus Reid Group is Canada’s most well-known and respected name in opinion polling and market research data. Offering a variety of research solutions to businesses, brands, governments, not-for-profit organizations, and more, the Angus Reid Group team connects technologies and people to derive powerful insights that inform your decisions.
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