The child and youth mental health system has evolved organically over decades in the absence of a provincial strategy or service plan. This has resulted in a series of challenges, including: service providers being forced to cut programs due to chronic underfunding; hospitalization rates skyrocketing due to lack of capacity at Children’s Mental Health Centres; and wait lists for treatment that continue to grow.
CMHO member centres are committed to providing the best possible mental health treatment and services for children, youth, and their families. However, demand for services continues to rise while funding levels have remained largely unchanged for two decades. As a result, many Children’s Mental Health Centres are currently burdened by long wait times and insufficient capacity to keep up with demand.
While the Ontario government has made progress toward key commitments for improvements to the system, the fact remains that too many children and youth cannot receive the help they need. In fact, only one in six young people who need mental health services receives them.
To draw attention to these issues, CMHO collects data on wait times at Children's Mental Health Centres across the Province.
What are Children's Mental Health Centres? Children and youth or families seeking publicly funded assessment and treatment for mental health issues have several places to go; their family doctor, their school and children’s mental health centres. Children’s mental health centres provide a continuum of care for those with mild to moderate issues to those with the most serious mental health issues.