Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario commends the provincial government for its $140-million investment in mental health, while also recognizing the need for increased funding and enhanced services.
The Ontario government has committed to investing $140 million over three years – and an additional $50 million over each of the following three years – in supportive housing, psychotherapy and services for youth.
Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Eric Hoskins made the announcement at Routes, CMHA Toronto’s social resource centre, on Feb. 8, calling it a “big step forward” in an attempt to achieve parity between the importance of mental and physical health care.
“The investments in these key areas indicate that the government has taken the advice of the Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council, and prioritized its funding accordingly,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO of CMHA Ontario.
“What’s also promising is to hear the minister today saying that mental health should be treated on par as physical health and that more funding and service enhancements are needed in our sector.”
The government announcement calls for the construction of 1,150 supportive housing units over the next two years. Once construction in complete, there will be 17,000 supportive housing units across Ontario.
The Ministry has promised more access to therapy to people living with conditions like anxiety and depression, helping them learn strategies to improve their mental health and be more successful in their daily lives. Ontario is working with Health Quality Ontario and other stakeholders to develop a provincial structured psychotherapy program, while also supporting the expansion of structured psychotherapy offered through existing partners. CMHA offers programs such as Bounce Back and Living Life to the Full.
The youth services funds are for nine new integrated youth service hubs for people between the ages of 12 and 25. As Hoskins noted, 70 percent of mental health issues surface during this time. This is in keeping with the current project at CMHA Lambton Kent, ACCESS Open Minds, which is also funded by the Boeckh Foundation.
While CMHA Ontario welcomes the government’s funding, the Feb. 8 announcement was made in the absence of a deal on the Health Accord. CMHA Ontario is advocating for an agreement, one in which additional dollars are earmarked for mental health and addictions services. CMHA Ontario is also calling on the federal, provincial and territorial ministers to hold true to their commitment of $11 billion for mental health and addictions and home care.