Ontario Expanding Strategy to Address Mental Health Issues
Province to Reduce Wait Times and Appoint Leadership Council
Ontario is helping more people access co-ordinated mental health services when and where they need them by moving forward on the next phase of its mental health strategy, establishing a Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council and increasing support to community mental health service partners.
The Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, launched in 2011 with a focus on children and youth, provided more than 50,000 additional children and youth with access to mental health and addiction services. The strategy is now expanding to support the transition between youth and adult services, and to improve the quality of services for Ontarians of all ages.
The next phase of the strategy includes:
- A $2.75 million investment to improve access to mental health care and reduce wait times at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Waypoint Centre for Mental Health in Penetanguishene, the Royal in Ottawa and Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Services in Whitby
- Investing $16 million to create 1,000 more supportive housing spaces over the next three years, as part of the Poverty Reduction Strategy
- Improving supports for youth with eating disorders through a pilot program with Ontario Shores, which will open a new 12-bed paediatric residential treatment unit treating 32 patients per year
- Partnering with the province's public health units to increase awareness, fight stigma and promote mental health in schools and in the workplace
- Developing a funding model -- based on advice from the new advisory council -- to improve outcomes, deliver higher quality care, and ensure that programs are better tailored to the needs of local communities
The new Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council, chaired by Susan Pigott, a leading expert in the field of mental health and community development, will advise government on implementing the next phase of the strategy. The council will provide advice on the strategy's investments, promote collaboration across sectors and report annually on the strategy's progress.
Ontario is also providing $138 million over three years through the 2014 Budget to community service agencies to help increase access to services such as peer support groups, treatment programs, and crisis and early intervention initiatives.
Investing in community mental health and addiction services supports Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care and Ontario's Poverty Reduction Strategy. It is also part of the Ontario government's four part economic plan to build Ontario up by investing in people's talent and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.
- More than 770 new mental health workers are now providing services for children and youth in communities, schools and courts.
- The Tele-Mental Health Service has been expanded to 35 rural, remote and underserved communities and is now providing psychiatric consultations to over 2,500 children and youth.
- In its first year, Ontario’s youth suicide prevention plan provided $1 million to mental health agencies to enhance local youth suicide prevention efforts.
- It is estimated that 20 per cent of Ontarians will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives, with one out of 40 Ontarians having a serious mental illness.
- By 2017, the government will have increased annual funding for mental health and addictions by a total of $176 million since it launched the Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy in 2011.
- The next phase of Ontario’s comprehensive mental health and addictions strategy.
- Open Minds, Healthy Minds: Ontario’s comprehensive mental health and addictions strategy.
- Find help for people experiencing problems with alcohol, drugs, mental health or gambling.
- Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.
“Having access to good quality mental health and addictions services is important for people in communities right across Ontario. As we continue to work together to eliminate stigma around mental health and addictions challenges, we will work even harder to provide timely access to services to Ontarians of all ages. We’ve made tremendous progress in our first three years by focusing on children and youth, and now it’s time to expand our work to include all Ontarians struggling with mental health and addictions challenges.”
Dr. Eric Hoskins
“The strategy’s initial focus on child and youth mental health services has made it easier to navigate the system so families get the services they need, when they need them, as close to home as possible. As we build on the work from the first three years, we will continue to work with our community partners to support a coordinated, responsive mental health system that makes sense.”
“Ensuring that all Ontarians have access to the right services and supports at the right time is essential to help them fulfill their vision of a better life and reach their full potential. That’s why access to good mental health and addictions services is a key feature of our Poverty Reduction Strategy.”