Addictions and Mental Health Ontario celebrates Mental Health Week 2020

AMHO News

May 4, 2020

Addictions and Mental Health Ontario is proud to participate in Mental Health Week from May 4-10. This year, it is important to shine a light on staying connected to one another as we look after not only our physical health during COVID-19, but our mental health as well.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increasing need for mental health and addiction services. We cannot afford to wait– with the system already under strain, we need to reinforce our supports with new funding now before it reaches a critical point,” says Adrienne Spafford, CEO of Addictions and Mental Health Ontario.

Mental health and addiction challenges affect 1 in 5 Canadians every year. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have already seen this number rising. The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction have reported a rise in drinking with 25% of Canadians aged 35-54 drinking more while at home. ConnexOntario, a 24/7 helpline connecting people to services, has reported that calls about anxiety have risen by 20%.

Addiction and mental health services have been deemed essential services by the provincial government and are operating during this pandemic, but the existing wait lists continue to get longer. It is critical that mental health and addiction services are seen as a priority as governments respond to COVID-19 and that is why AMHO along with our partners Canadian Mental Health Association – Ontario Division, and Children’s Mental Health Ontario are asking for $100 million in new funding to effectively respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

“When someone reaches out for mental health or addiction support, they need to be able to get it right away or their condition could get worse while they wait. This Mental Health Week, we are calling on immediate action and new funding from the government to address increased demand for services in order to help Ontarians keep mentally healthy,” says Spafford.

Join the conversation using #TogetherWeCan to let the government know that we need mental health and addiction support now.

Read our letter to government here

This Mental Health Week, AMHO encourages you to check in on your family, friends and loved ones. If you need mental health or addiction support, please visit ConnexOntario’s website at connexontario.ca or call their helpline at 1-866-531-2600. If it is a mental health or addiction emergency, please contact 911.