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COVID-19 causing stress, depression and obsessive behaviour: survey – CTV News

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EDMONTON —
An online survey of Albertans who have reached out for help during the COVID-19 crisis suggests the pandemic is taking a toll on mental health, with increased signs of obsessive behaviour, stress and depression.

“We did not expect people to be experiencing this level of anxiety, depression or stress,” said Vincent Agyapong, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Alberta and co-author of a newly published paper.

Agyapong’s research has focused on the lingering mental-health effects of public traumas such as the Fort McMurray wildfire. He and his colleagues have been asked by provincial and private agencies to help design a public mental-health response to COVID-19.

The paper, published in Environmental Research and Public Health, is an attempt to assess those needs.

“We thought it would be useful to collect baseline data,” Agyapong said.

In late March, the researchers contacted about 33,000 Albertans who subscribed to Text4Hope — a government initiative that sends out a daily supportive text message written by mental health professionals. They asked subscribers to complete a survey that contained standard measures of anxiety, depression and obsessive behaviour.

About 6,000 people responded.

The survey, funded by a group of Alberta charitable health foundations, found that about 60 per cent of respondents had become worried about dirt, germs and viruses since the COVID-19 outbreak. About 54 per cent had begun washing their hands “very often or in a special way” that could be considered a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder.

Nearly 50 per cent were considered probable candidates for anxiety disorders and more than 40 per cent were likely to be clinically depressed. Almost 85 per cent of respondents reported moderate to high stress.

The results were consistent between men and women. Symptoms and anxiety levels tended to increase with age and education levels.

Agyapong is cautious about the results. The survey sample isn’t representative of the Alberta population. And some level of stress and unusual behaviour is understandable when people are losing their jobs and seeing society shut down around them.

But something is going on, he said.

“It’s not diagnostic, but it is indicative,” said Agyapong. “It doesn’t necessarily mean (the results) aren’t representative of what’s going on.”

Although research suggests about one-quarter of the general population will show some obsessive compulsive symptoms at some point in life, the incidence of the actual condition is only about two per cent — much lower than the figure in Agyapong’s survey.

Agyapong points out his findings are consistent with studies done in other countries such as China.

He said simple measures can help — even the daily reassurance provided by Text4Hope. Preliminary results suggest that in six weeks, anxiety levels in subscribers fell by 20 per cent.

“It may not work for everybody, but if you can get it to work for even half of those who are struggling, then it means that you don’t need more (expensive) resources at a population level,” Agyapong said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2020

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Warning: Don't Save in Your TFSA! Do This Instead – The Motley Fool Canada

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Too many Canadians are still saving in their Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)! However, the Bank of Canada is planning to keep the benchmark interest rate at close to zero at least until 2023. This means that if you put money in a savings account or guaranteed investment certificate (GIC), you won’t make much.

Instead of saving in your TFSA, you should consider investing in it. Currently, the best three-year GIC rate is offered by EQ Bank and going for 1.15%. The long-term average Canadian stock market returns are 7% — six times what you would make from the GIC.

You can potentially make even greater returns by placing your money in specific stocks. If you like consistent income, you would be interested in Toronto-Dominion Bank (TSX:TD)(NYSE:TD) and TC Energy (TSX:TRP)(NYSE:TRP).

Both are wonderful businesses, but their stocks have sold off recently, making them attractive long-term investments that should outperform market returns over the next few years.

TD stock provides a 5.4% dividend

Because of pandemic disruptions to the economy, higher credit losses are expected at the Canadian banks this year. TD stock has become particularly attractive among the big Canadian banks given its quality and growth potential on an economic rebound, especially with its meaningful exposure to the U.S. retail banking market.

TD stock’s correction of 22% in the last 12 months is the perfect opportunity to buy for an elevated dividend yield of 5.4%. This is 35% more income than its appealing yield of 4% in a normal economy.

Importantly, the stock is undervalued for long-term investment. In a normal year, TD generates revenues of about $38 billion and net income of more than $11 billion. Inevitably, this year, its revenues and earnings are going to be lower.

At about $58.50 per share at writing, the compelling stock can deliver total returns of about 15% per year over the next three to five years. Furthermore, you can expect its dividend to increase during that period.

TC Energy offers a 6.1% dividend

TC Energy is a resilient business that provides essential services in the energy sector. It just reported its third-quarter results today. Management highlighted that the company’s operations, flows, and utilization levels remain in line with historical and seasonal norms.

Year to date, its revenues only dipped 3% and its comparable EBITDA essentially stayed flat against the same period in the prior year. Moreover, its earnings per share actually climbed 15% to $3.55, putting its payout ratio at 68% for the period.

TC Energy’s defensive business performance doesn’t really warrant the stock’s decline of 20% in the last 12 months. It also has a secured capital program of $37 billion from 2020 to 2023 to grow its business. About $5 billion of the projects are expected to complete this year.

At about $52.90 per share at writing, the attractive stock can deliver total returns of about 15% per year over the next three to five years. A dividend increase of 5-7% per year should be no problem for the Canadian Dividend Aristocrat.

The Foolish takeaway

Understandably, Canadians might want to be conservative with their money-management strategies during the pandemic. Investing in blue-chip dividend stocks like TD stock and TC Energy stock is as conservative as it gets in the stock investing world.

Take a closer look at the businesses and consider investing in their undervalued stocks in your TFSA for outsized tax-free income and returns in the long run.

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Fool contributor Kay Ng owns shares of The Toronto-Dominion Bank and TC Energy.

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Shoppers' privacy violated at major Canadian malls: Privacy commissioners – CBC News: The National

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  1. Shoppers’ privacy violated at major Canadian malls: Privacy commissioners  CBC News: The National
  2. Cadillac Fairview collected millions of images of shoppers at malls across Canada: Privacy watchdog  CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News
  3. Cadillac Fairview secretly collected personal information from 5M shoppers across Canada: privacy commissioners  KitchenerToday.com
  4. Mall real estate company collected 5 million images of shoppers, say privacy watchdogs  CBC.ca
  5. Cadillac Fairview collected 5 million shoppers’ images without consent  Yahoo Canada Finance
  6. View Full coverage on Google News



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Man rushed to hospital after possible assault in Rexdale – CityNews Toronto

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A man has been rushed to hospital after possibly being assaulted in Rexdale.

Officers were called Mount Olive and Silverstone Drives just before 7:30 p.m. to reports of an assault.

The victim was found unconscious on the scene and was taken to hospital in serious condition.

Police say it appears the man suffered a head injury.

No further details have been released at this point.

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