Across Canada, the number of people struggling with mental health issues continues to soar throughout the pandemic, according to a new Ipsos poll.

Over half the Canadians surveyed were deemed “high risk,” reporting a combination of symptoms including debilitating stress, deep depression, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide. This is the highest reported number from Ipsos since it began polling this issue in 2015, with numbers leaping from 33 percent to 50 percent in 2021.

The poll also found almost one in 10 Canadians seriously considered suicide or self-harm several times over the past year. This means we are in “a crisis mode,” according to Jennifer McLeod Macey, vice-president of Ipsos Public Affairs.

“That may seem like a small number, but it’s really not,” she told Global News. “We’ve got a quarter of people who felt depressed to the point of hopelessness for over two weeks at a time, several times a year. Another 22 percent who thought that at least once a year. These are true indicators of serious depression.”

The majority of younger Canadians are also grappling with poor mental health. Seventy-six percent of young people are struggling compared to 52 percent of Gen Xers and 31 percent of baby boomers.

Despite the high numbers, 53 percent of participants were willing to talk about their mental health publicly on social media or with family and health professionals. Surprisingly, over 20 percent of people surveyed reported they turned to social media to seek help. Previously, Ipsos found only 41 percent of people had discussed their mental health openly.

However, even with openly discussing these issues, McLeod Macey says it will take years for everyone to come out of this crisis. “It’s going to take us a long time to recover from the pandemic, as much as we want to put it behind us,” she said.

“We need to keep talking about it, keep being sensitive and empathetic so that people are willing to open up when they need to with those people they need to open up to​​​​.”