January 31, 2020 – Today, Adrienne Spafford, Chief Executive Officer of Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO) presented Finance Minister Rod Phillips with recommendations for the 2020 provincial budget.
AMHO is calling on the Ontario government to address the addiction and mental health crisis in Ontario by increasing investments in community-based services and engaging with people with lived experience to co-design a system that works.
With a commitment of $3.8 billion in new mental health and addiction funding from the Ontario government and the establishment of the Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence there is a real opportunity to effectively address the substance use, addiction and mental health crisis in Ontario.
We are calling on the government to:
- Invest $380 million annually in community-based addiction and mental health services to respond to the urgent and rising demand for care. Investment in community-based services and in children and youth services should be prioritized in this process.
- Mobilize the potential of the Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence to drive systematic change and establish comprehensive and connected addiction and mental health services across Ontario, inclusive of an implementation fund to support service providers to deliver new standards.
- Meaningfully engage with people with lived experience, their loved ones and caregivers to direct investments and co-design a system that works best for people who need substance use, addiction and mental health services.
“The time to invest in the mental health and addiction care system is now,” says Adrienne Spafford, CEO of Addictions and Mental Health Ontario. “The demand for addiction and mental health supports has risen to crisis levels, and if the government does not invest in and support services, the problems we see growing will worsen: more children and youth in crisis will continue to sit on wait lists, overdose rates will continue to rise, and emergency rooms will continue to be the only accessible point of care.”
Together with our members and partners, AMHO looks forward to continuing to work with the government to build the addiction and mental health system that the people of Ontario deserve.
AMHO represents nearly 200 community addiction and mental health care organizations across Ontario. Our members provide services and supports that help Ontarians with their recovery, including counselling and case management, peer support and family support, employment services, overnight rehabilitation, withdrawal management, supportive housing and hospital-based programs. As the collective voice of our members, we advocate 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.