February 22, 2022 (Toronto) – Today, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO) is releasing their recommendations for the 2022 provincial budget.
“No Time to Wait”, the title of AMHO’s 2022 budget submission, calls for the Ontario government to prioritize building a comprehensive and connected mental health and addiction system as part of the COVID-19 recovery plan.
“Too many people are waiting too long for access to mental health, addiction and substance use care in Ontario. The longer Ontarians wait the greater the impact on their mental and physical health, their support system, and other areas of our health system. There is a mental health and addiction crisis in Ontario, we need to be paying as much attention to this crisis as we are to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Katie Heelis, Interim CEO.
Addictions and Mental Health Ontario represents nearly 200 organizations that provide front line substance use, addiction and mental health support and services. Every year, local mental health and addiction providers help more than 300,000 Ontarians on their road to recovery.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, AMHO members have worked tirelessly to support their clients in every region of the province. However, more must be done to tackle wait times and ensure that support is there when people need them most.
As part of our 2022 budget submission, AMHO is calling on the Ontario government to:
- Implement a strategy to address growing wait times for mental health, addiction, and substance use health services.
- Develop and implement a Health Human Resources plan to address the staffing challenges in the sector.
- Respond urgently to the escalating overdose crisis and the drastic rise in overdose deaths.
- Use a social determinants of health approach in designing and implementing mental health and substance use supports and services.
AMHO and our members across the province are ready to work together with the Government of Ontario to create the mental health and substance use health system our province needs. With the additional stress COVID-19 has placed on the mental, physical, social, and economic well-being of Ontarians, there is no time to wait.
We must act quickly to support the millions of Ontarians currently struggling with substance use and/ or their mental health as well as the frontline workers who care for them. The time to act is now.