Statistics reported by the Canadian Mental Health Association indicate that, in any given year, approximately one in five Canadians will personally experience a mental health problem or illness. That adds up to huge personal and financial costs for Ontarians, their families, their businesses and their communities. Few would disagree that governments must both do more to help affected individuals and families, and must do so more effectively than they have in the past.
Ontario’s current Liberal government is rising to the challenge with an unprecedented $2.1 billion investment in mental health and addiction for the purpose of delivering more accessible and better integrated care.
In 2018-19, more than 12,000 more young people will be able to access community-based services such as therapy and counselling, a number that will grow to about 46,000 by 2021-22. Every secondary school in Ontario will have access to an additional mental health worker, with about 400 new positions being added within two years. At least 15 additional youth wellness hubs will be created over the next four years to improve access to services for youth aged 12 to 25. Up to 350,000 more people with mild to moderate anxiety or depression across the province will have access to publicly-funded, structured psychotherapy, in places like their doctors’ offices or a community organization.
The plan also includes: the creation of 2,475 more supportive housing units over four years; expansion of access to withdrawal management for young people and adults living with addictions, including support for more programs and services that are culturally appropriate; and an additional $570 million over the next four years so that young people can access the supports they need.
Helping to better address mental health and addiction challenges has been among Sophie’s primary goals as an MPP. Locally, she has worked tirelessly to bring together individuals, groups and organizations working on different facets of mental health and addiction care in our community to better coordinate their respective efforts.