Mental Health Week: Investing Where Change Happens

 

From May 7 to 12, Addiction Services for York Region and our provincial association, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO), are joining our partners across the province to raise awareness about the importance of mental health.

This year, during Mental Health Week, we are getting loud about the need to erase the difference between addiction and mental health and physical health, and we are calling on provincial election candidates to commit to investing where change happens.

“Community programs like ours provide mental health and addiction care for over 500,000 Ontarians across the province. But funding has not kept pace with the increase in demand and costs of operating these critical programs,” said Penny Marrett, Executive Director, ASYR.

As a result, one in three Ontarians report not getting the help they need for a mental health or addiction problem. The impact of these unmet needs are felt across the community – in our hospitals and emergency departments, in our police services and justice system, and in our schools and our families.

“We know better mental health is possible because we work where change happens,” continued Marrett. “Every day, we see the transformative change that can happen in someone’s life when they are connected to the right services and supports, at the right time. These include psychological supports such as counselling, but also include social supports like helping people find and maintain housing, as well as get connected with employment and volunteer opportunities.”

In the lead up to the Ontario election June 7, 2018, all three major political parties have committed significant investments in mental health, addiction and supportive housing. Our provincial association, AMHO, has developed recommendations for how to make a high impact with these investments, including:

  • Helping 100,000 more people to live in the community by hiring 2,200 new mental health and addiction professionals such as case managers and social workers over the next 4 years.
  • Improving accountability and outcome measurement by establishing a data system for Ontario’s community mental health and addictions sector.
  • Avoiding service erosion and keep up with rising costs like hydro and food, and to help retain staff by increasing operational funding by 3.75% for the next 4 years and matching it to CPI in the years following.
  • Providing a home and a connection to critical health services and spaces by adding a minimum of 30,000 supportive housing units over the next 10 years.

To see the full plan and priorities, please visit www.amho.ca/our-work/where-change-happens/

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