Canada is witnessing a mental health ‘crisis’, but more are willing to discuss it: Opinion


Amid the COVID-19 epidemic, the number of Canadians experiencing mental health issues across the country continues to rise, a new Ipsos survey reveals, half of which the survey considers “high risk”.

Yet an increasing number of people – 53 percent – are willing to discuss their issues with family, health professionals or publicly on social media.

The number is a big jump since Ipsos last chose the public over their experiences with mental health in April 2018, when only 41 percent of Canadians said they had discussed their issues.

“It’s really encouraging,” said Ipsos Public Affairs Vice President Jennifer Macleod Massey. “We want people to talk about it. We want to end the stigma.

“But at the same time … we are in a state of crisis.”

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The number of high-risk Canadians – meaning they have experienced debilitating stress, depressive depression, and some combination of suicide or suicidal ideation – is at the highest point since Ipsos began its voting in 2015, which Has increased from 33 percent to 50. Percent this year.

In the past 10 years, nearly one in many Canadians considered suicide or suicide several times seriously, the survey said, while 13 percent considered it at least once. Both numbers are also above the previous elections.

“It may sound like a small number, but it really isn’t,” said McLeod Massey.

“We have found a quarter of people who feel depressed in a state of despair for several weeks to several weeks in a year. Another 22 percent thought that at least once a year. These are true indicators of severe depression. “


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The survey stated that more than half of Canadian women are experiencing high-risk mental health challenges, compared to 46 percent of men. Low-income Canadians saw more challenges than other income groups, with 61 percent of those at high risk making less than $ 40,000.

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Polls found that mental health issues are even higher among young Canadians – 76 percent – than 52 percent of Gen Xers and 31 percent of Baby Boomers.

Broken down by region, mental health issues were mainly found in Alberta, Ontario and the Atlantic provinces. Alberta saw the highest response with 60 percent of people considered high risk, followed by 58 percent in the Atlantic region and 52 percent in Ontario.

The number of Canadians consuming drugs to help them deal with their mental health issues has increased the most in 2015, reaching only 18 percent to 30 percent of respondents in 2015.

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McLeod Macey made the most jump out of those who sought an outlet or help for their issues, outnumbered by those on social media. 20 per cent of the people surveyed said they had done so, more than doubling that number in 2018.

There was a less pronounced increase in how many people a healthcare provider or mental health professional talked to about their issues, however, from 21 percent to 30 percent in 2018 this year.

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“We still lack resources,” she said. “There are still many people who need help and cannot get that help in the right capacity for them.”

Amy Reimer, a registered psychologist at Momentum Walk-in Counseling in Edmonton, said she and her colleagues are seeing a higher and broader number of clients who are more willing to discuss their issues.

He said that the COVID-19 epidemic has created a shared environment for people to feel more comfortable discussing their issues.

“It seems to be becoming more commonplace, where people are talking more about their mental health,” she said. “I think that because so many of us are affected by this, it is very easy to answer honestly about what we are experiencing.”


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Reimer said that a major barrier for those who are yet to seek help is cost. Clinics like hers have tried to resolve the issue by offering sliding pay scales for low-income customers.

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Talking about mental health helps people “to feel that they are not alone, to feel that it is a serious concern,” Remer said.

“It affects your relationships, it affects your work, it affects your sleep and routine. So I think it can be very helpful to talk about what you are going through… and remember that you are flexible. “

Given the steady growth in high-risk Canadians over the past six years, McLeod Massey said she hopes that when the epidemic finally ends, they will see more people battling mental health issues.

“It’s going to take a long time for us to recover from the epidemic, as much as we want to put it behind us,” she said. “It will take us many years to come out of this.”

She said she hopes that if this number rises, people will be ready to talk on their issues and seek help.

“We need to keep at that,” he said. “We need to keep talking about it, be sensitive and sensitive so that people are ready to open up with those people when they need them with what they need to open up to.”

– With Morgan Black’s files from Global

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