Ontario to make $2.1B investment in mental health services

Mar 23, 2018 | News

Kathleen Wynne at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health announcing Ontario’s investment to improve mental health services. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

Norma Zminkowska

Ontario will be investing $2.1 billion to improve mental health services for the one in three residents who experience mental health and addiction challenges, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced.

Wynne was at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) March 21 when she announced the province will make an unprecedented four-year investment. She said this investment would help to “deliver more accessible and better integrated care,” and tackle long wait lists.

“We are making a deliberate choice with this historic investment to shorten wait times and improve access to vital mental health and addictions care,” Wynne said. “We are working to ensure that whatever your age and wherever you live in our province, you’ll have fast and easy access to care that’s right for you.”

Youth services

Wynne said this investment would improve services for youth, among other things. About 12,000 more young people will be able to get counselling in the following year, a number she said will grow to 46,000 in two years.

She also said every high school in the province will get access to a mental health worker, and the province will create 15 “wellness hubs” for youth.

“We know many young people in Ontario are facing serious mental health challenges in their daily lives,” said Education Minister Indira Naidoo-Harris, who is also responsible for early years childcare.

“We must equip educators and students with the tools and resources they need to identify, recognize and access support for potential mental health and addictions issues so our young people can lead happy, healthy lives,” she said.

Lisa Macleod, who is the Progressive Conservative MPP for the Nepean-Carleton riding, said the Liberals are “reckless” in spending.

She was also previously outspoken about her experience with depression and mental health issues.

“The Liberals simply do not care,” she said. “If they cared, we wouldn’t have 40 per cent of children unable to access mental health treatments that they need.”

“If they cared, it wouldn’t take six months to see a psychiatrist after a suicide attempt,” MacLeod said.