TORONTO, September 8, 2021 – Addictions and Mental Health Ontario issued a call to action today for leaders of all political stripes to ensure the mental health and addiction crisis is part of the conversation at the federal leader’s debate scheduled for September 8 and 9.
Throughout the pandemic, Canadians have reported increased mental health and substance use challenges, pushing mental health and addiction services and supports further into crisis. Ontario saw 2,426 preventable overdose deaths in 2020 alone – a 60% increase from the year before.
COVID-19 has put a tremendous strain on front line workers, children and youth, parents, and families. Many small business owners have permanently closed their doors. Others have lost their jobs and continue to struggle to provide for themselves or their families. Working parents have had to juggle job responsibilities with caring for elderly parents and helping kids with online learning. Seniors have faced unprecedented bouts of isolation , unable to see family and friends for months on end.
AMHO members working locally in their communities to deliver mental health and addiction care are witnessing the impacts of these realities every day. They are sounding the alarm: there is no recovery from this pandemic without a plan to address the mental health and addiction crisis.
AMHO is calling on federal party leaders to bring this conversation to the national debate stage and to set out their plan to work with all levels of government across Canada to reduce wait times and improve access to mental health and addiction services. No matter who you are, your race, your gender, your sexuality, where you live or how much money you make, you should have timely access to quality mental health and addiction services.
“There has never been a more important time to ensure these conversations take place at the national stage, giving leaders from all political stripes an opportunity to outline their plan to improve access to mental health and addiction care for all Canadians. For a strong recovery from this pandemic, we need to see concrete action on improving the quality of services and reducing wait times, so that everyone in Canada has access to the mental health and addiction services they need.”
– Adrienne Spafford, CEO, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario