Improving Mental Health Supports for Ontario Kids and Families
McGuinty Government Releases Comprehensive Mental Health And Addictions Strategy
Over 50,000 Ontario kids and their families will now have quicker and easier access to the right mental health supports, when and where they need them.
Today, Ontario released a Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, which focuses on children and youth in the first three years. Supports for kids target three key areas: fast access to high-quality services, early identification and support, and helping vulnerable kids with unique needs.
Key Investments for children and youth include:
- Placing mental health workers and nurses with mental health expertise in schools - benefitting over 9,000 kids - and giving educators, social workers and other professionals tools and training to identify mental health issues early on.
- Providing more services such as short-term therapy and crisis intervention in community agencies to help 13,000 more kids and reduce wait lists.
- Expanding telepsychiatry (video counselling) services to rural, remote and underserved communities to provide more kids with consultations with child psychiatrists.
- Providing culturally appropriate services to 4,000 more Aboriginal kids by hiring new Aboriginal mental health workers.
- Keeping 2,300 youth out of the justice system by adding more mental health court workers who can refer them, instead, to community-based services, such as clinical counselling.
- Helping more than 16,000 youth transitioning from secondary to post-secondary school by adding more mental health workers on campuses in colleges and universities.
Ontario's Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy will create a more coordinated and responsive mental health system. The strategy will focus on building awareness and support around mental health issues by reducing stigma and discrimination, identifying problems and intervening early, and delivering more high quality and timely supports.
The government will also develop performance measures for publicly reporting wait times, client experiences and health outcomes.
- More than 50,000 kids and their families will immediately benefit from Ontario's new strategy for Mental Health and Addictions.
- Ontario's investments will start this year and total $257 million over the next three years.
- Since 2003, the government has increased funding by 80 per cent for community mental health services, and by 49 per cent for addiction programs.
“Today's announcement will literally change the lives of thousands of kids and their families across the province. These new services and expanded supports will help children and youth with mental health challenges reach their full potential and thrive.”
“Mental health issues often begin during childhood and I'm proud that today's announcement will help to lay the foundation for good mental health early in life. It's the right thing to do and the right time to do it and I know not only youth will benefit, but also thousands of Ontario adults who will get the services they need quicker and more effectively to prevent and reduce mental health and addictions issues.”
“The professionals in our education system are often in the best position to identify the need for mental health services at an early age. The additional resources we are providing to our educators will help break down barriers and ensure our children get the support and services they need to succeed.”