November 25, 2017
(TORONTO, November 25, 2017) – Please see below for a statement from Gail Czukar, CEO of Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO) in response to Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown’s mental health announcement.
“Today the Ontario PC’s announced their plan to match the Health Accord investments in mental health. That’s an additional $1.9 billion over 10 years – a potentially historic investment for the province.
Too many Ontarians with mental illness and addiction are not getting the help they need in their communities– and they are showing up in greater rates in our emergency departments, hospitals and justice system as a result. In fact, emergency department visits and hospitalizations for children and youth with mental illness and addiction have gone up 63 and 67 per cent respectively over the past ten years.
On top of that we are facing an opioid crisis across the province. Although the spotlight lately has been on opioid poisonings, we know it’s not about the substance, it’s about the person.
That’s why mental health and addiction must be front and center in the lead up to the next provincial election – and Patrick Brown has put forward a bold commitment to make that a reality.
The province has received good advice about current needs and gaps that point the direction forward. Mr. Brown has identified many of these important priority areas for investment, including increasing timely access to services for children and youth, suicide prevention and support for Indigenous peoples, diverting those in crisis from the justice system, and, importantly, data collection to measure our progress. Ontario’s community-based addiction and mental health providers have ample evidence of what works, and are eager to share their expertise to scale up and build a comprehensive system for mental health and addiction in the province.
In 2012 the Mental Health Commission of Canada recommended that provincial governments in Canada commit to investing 9% of their healthcare budgets in mental health and addiction. Ontario currently invests less than 7%. Other comparable international jurisdictions invest an average of 9 to 10%, and the UK 13%. The Ontario PC’s proposed investment, combined with the health transfer payment, constitute a big move to get us closer to that 9% target.”
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About Addictions and Mental Health Ontario
AMHO represents over 220 addictions and mental health care organizations across Ontario. Our members provide services and supports that help Ontarians across the province, including counselling and case management, peer support and family support, employment services, residential treatment, withdrawal management, supportive housing and hospital based programs.
As the collective voice of our members, we provide leadership and engage partners to build a comprehensive and accessible system of addiction and mental health care, and improve the well-being of individuals, families and communities in Ontario. We do this through policy work, advocacy initiatives, service development, knowledge exchange, education offerings and quality improvement work.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with an AMHO spokesperson, please contact:
Communications and Public Affairs Officer
Addictions and Mental Health Ontario