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Montreal chef dies by suicide after suffering depression during pandemic

Click to play video 'What are the consequences of COVID-19 on mental health?' What are the consequences of COVID-19 on mental health?
WATCH: A Montreal-area pastry chef died by suicide last week. It seems the economic, social and psychological impact of COVID-19 destabilized his life. Mental health experts say they are seeing an increase anxiety and depression, particularly among young men. Global's Amanda Jelowicki has more.

The Montreal food world is mourning the loss of beloved pastry chef Patrice Bernadel, who died by suicide last weekend.

His brother, Vlad, posted a note on his Facebook page about his death.

“It appears that the economic, social and psychological impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have destabilized his life to the point of diving him into a deep depression, preventing him from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” he wrote.

Bernadel was known for his whimsical macaroons, putting customized pictures and famous faces on them. His Instagram account is filled with people, including Brian Mulroney and Pierre-Karl Péladeau, holding the crisp cookies with their faces on them.

Bernadel’s business, Les Délices de Patrice, suffered a big hit during the coronavirus pandemic. He primarily catered cookies for parties and special events.

Read more: Canadians could face huge increase in mental illness years after COVID-19, study finds

Experts say there is no doubt, the pandemic has destroyed many lives.

“People have lost loves ones, they have lost money, they have lost their status,” said Pierre Faubert, a clinical psychologist. “This is a war and we will be scarred by this.”

Canada’s Mental Health Association recently conducted a survey of Canadians examining the impact of COVID-19.

Click to play video 'Family Matters: Teen Mental Health Crisis' Family Matters: Teen Mental Health Crisis
Family Matters: Teen Mental Health Crisis

It found that 38 per cent of people surveyed say their mental health has declined because of COVID-19.

Another 46 per cent said they feel anxious and worried, while 14 per cent are having trouble coping and six per cent have had suicidal thoughts.

“The concerns and the anxiety that people are expressing is heightened,” said Ella Amir, the executive director of AMI-Quebec, an organization that helps families cope with mental illness.

Read more: Mental health an escalating issue for Quebecers as COVID-19 restrictions persist

Amir says she’s seen an increase in young men seeking help with anxiety and depression. One aggravating stressor — moving back in with their families during the pandemic.

“This is something we have never seen before — multi-generations living all the time together. Very often with very little space. I think this is huge. It’s a very difficult situation,” she said.

Experts say it’s important to seek help if feeling down.

“We have to recognize the signs in our bodies that are telling us things aren’t going well,” Faubert said.

It’s something Bernadel’s brother wishes he’d done. He posted a message on Facebook urging people not to suffer in silence like his brother did.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

The Canadian Association for Suicide PreventionDepression HurtsKids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868, and the Trans Lifeline 1-877-330-6366 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.

In Quebec, the number to call is 1-866-APPELLE (277-3553).

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