Ontario Liberal leader Steven Del Duca announced today that if elected, his party would increase funding for mental health by $3 billion.
Speaking in Scarborough today, Del Duca promised that an Ontario Liberal government will “transform” mental health front line response to help improve access for people with mental illnesses, addictions, and disabilities. He said the investment would help clear the backlog for support for mental health and addiction services.
“Mental health challenges, which were already in a really tough spot prior to the pandemic arriving, have only gotten dramatically worse,” Del Duca said.
Del Duca said mental health challenges, which were already in a tough spot prior to the pandemic arriving, have only gotten dramatically worse in the past couple of years.
He said a Liberal government would invest in training 3,000 mental health professionals, including 1,000 mental health professionals for at-risk youth and children. According to the Liberal plan, the party would also dedicate mental health professionals to work with emergency calls and in emergency rooms across the province.
Del Duca said it is fundamentally important for young people who struggle with mental health challenges to get access to support in a timely fashion.
Mitzie Hunter, the Liberal candidate for Scarborough – Guildwood, said that investment in mental health is needed now more than ever.
“This is going to make a difference in the lives of so many,” Hunter said in the press conference. “The young people in our community in Scarborough welcome this news.”
He said that it is “irresponsible” and “appalling” that Ford and his team are putting up empty words and promises to the people.
“The Conservative plan is always to slice and dice public health care services, opening the door to private companies looking to make a quick buck,” said Del Duca. “Right now, there’s a major gap between wanting mental health help and finding it.”
He said the next government in Ontario needs to understand that support and investments are required to make sure that Ontarians are set up for success, regardless of where they live and what their circumstances are.
Gordon Flett, professor in the Department of Psychology at York University, told Humber News that he is in favour of the investments, but it is essential to examine whether there are going to be enough people trained to meet this need.
“It is key how “front line mental health workers” are defined and what commitment there is to increasing and expanding training opportunities for people interested in becoming a mental health professional,” Flett said.