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New Plan to Build Mental Health and Addictions System Will Provide Ontarians Easier Access to Higher-Quality Care

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New Plan to Build Mental Health and Addictions System Will Provide Ontarians Easier Access to Higher-Quality Care

Ministry of Health

Ontario is launching Roadmap to Wellness: A Plan to Build Ontario's Mental Health and Addictions System. This roadmap is built from the ground up and based on extensive consultations with families and people with lived experience, grassroots organizations and frontline health service providers to ensure Ontario can provide a clear path forward to offer people easier access to higher-quality care in communities across the province.

Building on a Strong Foundation

The new Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence within Ontario Health will serve as the foundation on which Roadmap to Wellness is built. Responding to recommendations made in 2010 by the Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions, for which Christine Elliott was vice-chair and which was established through a motion she presented that was unanimously supported by the Ontario legislature, the centre will:

  • Establish a central point of oversight for mental health and addictions care;
  • Be responsible for standardizing and monitoring the quality and delivery of evidence-based services and clinical care across the province to provide a better and more consistent patient experience; and
  • Provide support and resources to Ontario Health Teams as they connect patients to the different types of mental health and addictions care they need and help them navigate the complex system.

Roadmap to Wellness

As the Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence standardizes and better organizes the system, it will enable and drive the effective implementation of the roadmap's four pillars:

  1. Improving quality: The Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence will develop a consistent set of evidence-based standards and monitor and manage the quality of care against these standards to ensure an improved client experience in communities across the province.

    The province will work alongside technical experts and community-based providers to develop a new core services framework, which will identify a set of core services based on an assessment of population health needs and existing capacity on the ground. In doing so, the province will ensure that, over time, all Ontarians have equal access to a common set of high-quality services no matter where they call home. Core service standards will also be developed to set expectations for providers on how each core service should be delivered so that Ontarians can be assured of a consistent experience no matter where they go. The core services framework and its accompanying core service standards will provide an evidence-based framework that will guide future funding decisions.

  2. Expanding existing services: Informed by the province's extensive consultations, Ontario will continue to invest in the expansion of priority programs and services: children and youth and youth wellness hubs to promote early identification and prevention; the justice sector, including adding more mobile crisis teams, and providing more training for police and corrections staff; housing supports for people who are homeless and face mental health and addictions issues; and continued support for grassroots-driven solutions for communities with unique needs, including Indigenous communities and Francophones. Over time, future funding decisions will be informed by the core services framework, which will help identify gaps in care.

  3. Implementing innovative solutions: As evidenced by the launch of Mindability, a new publicly-funded cognitive behavioural therapy program, Ontario recognizes there are gaps in care that require urgent attention. This program will increase access to care for Ontarians with anxiety and depression, the two most common mental health conditions. Additionally, in response to the recommendations made by the Ontario Autism Panel, the province will develop and pilot an integrated mental health training program in 2020 for autism service providers to adapt cognitive behavioural therapy for autism spectrum disorder child and youth clients.

    Through the new Consumption and Treatment Services model, as well as other investments in the system, Ontario will continue to expand comprehensive, wrap-around addictions treatment services that save lives and connect Ontarians with treatment and rehabilitation services. Finally, through youth wellness hubs, Ontario will offer increased support for youths and young adults transitioning into adult mental health and addictions programs by providing increased care for clients aged 12 to 25.

  4. Improving access: The province will ensure easier access to improved services. At maturity, any person living in Ontario will be able to call, text or go online to find services or get help by using one toll-free phone number, an easy-to-use website with an online chat option and/or regional access centres where screening, referral and service navigation supports are provided. 

    Ontario is also improving transitions between providers by better connecting health care providers and mental health and addiction services through Ontario Health Teams. To help Ontarians more easily identify and access core mental health and addictions services in their communities, health service providers will be given a new icon for use on websites and on storefronts when they meet certain service standards, as established by the Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence.

To monitor success, the Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence will work with sector experts, service providers, people with lived experience, families, caregivers and clinical researchers to create a consistent set of evidence-based service and quality standards, building on the best practices that led to meaningful quality improvements to cancer treatment in the province. Similarly, Ontario will work collaboratively with the Mental Health and Additions Centre of Excellence and system partners, experts and clinical researchers to create a performance measurement framework to help drive system improvements. This data will guide future planning for the province and will support increased transparency and accountability.

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