There’s a lot of talk from political parties this campaign about the importance of building infrastructure – highways, housing, hospitals, etc. – especially as a form of pandemic recovery.
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario reminds the parties that pandemic recovery also includes supporting the mental wellness of individuals, families, students, the workforce – everyone.
But right now, too many Ontarians can’t get the support they need. Consider:
At CMHA Waterloo Wellington, there are more than 3,670 people on a wait list for care.
At CMHA Toronto, there are about 550 people on the wait list.
Wait times for CMHA supportive housing range from six months in Fort Frances, nine months in Niagara, and nearly three years in Brantford.
Average wait times for children and youth are 67 days for counselling and therapy and 92 days for intensive treatment.
One way a government can help to reduce wait times is to support the infrastructure of the community mental health and addictions sector.
While previous governments have funded mental health and addictions care, investment is always time-limited and earmarked to maintain a specific program or launch a singular new service.
Unlike other health sectors, funding is rarely if ever provided to cover infrastructure, rising operating costs and salaries.
“What happens when people reach out to us for service only to be placed on a wait list or find out there aren’t enough mental health and addictions staff available to help them?” asks Camille Quenneville, CEO, CMHA Ontario. “For those struggling with a mental health and addictions issue, getting off a wait list and into care is more important than anything else this campaign.”
CMHA Ontario’s “I choose” campaign will use this election to spotlight different issues that are negatively impacting how people access care in this province.
When heading to the ballot box, we hope you will support the political party that prioritizes mental health and addictions care.
Read CMHA Ontario’s news release on pandemic recovery for the “I choose” campaign.