Chronic pain, poverty, addiction and mental health in a time of pandemic

Webster, Fiona | $160,650

Ontario Western University 2021 CIHR Project Grant

Canadians are currently facing unprecedented challenges with the COVID‑19 pandemic. Governments and health care systems are scrambling to find ways to minimize the downstream impacts of the pandemic on its citizens. However, some groups who experience structural disadvantages as well as certain health conditions, such as chronic pain and poverty, may be finding it more difficult to persevere. Our proposed project will examine how people living with poverty manage their chronic pain during the time of COVID-19. COVID‑19 response measures may be creating barriers to accessing services for those living with pain, like pain management services, leading to a spike in overdoses. Our research will also contribute to understandings of how people living with other chronic illnesses (including mental illness and persistent drug use) are variously impacted by pandemic policies, both negatively and positively, and are able to adhere to public health recommendations such as physical distancing and self-isolation. This knowledge will help governments better (re)design our systems and inform decision-making across Canada to ultimately strengthen our public health, health and social care systems now and into the future for all Canadians.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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