My name is _____________, (insert name or organization if you are representing one)
(If your MPP has already taken action around child and youth mental health): Thank you for your support of child and youth mental health treatment. You have (insert actions they have taken).
(Insert events specific to your community, if possible) Every month there is another headline about youth suicide. On New Year’s Day, the Toronto Star reported the death of Alex Hurst who died while waiting for treatment. In Woodstock, six youth died by suicide. In First Nations communities, tragedy after tragedy continues to happen. We also know that kids are forced to wait for treatment and often that is why they die.
(Insert the primary issue in your community e.g., long wait times, lack of specialized mental health services, losing staff to other sectors due to wage gaps)
And we know that untreated mental illness is not just heartbreaking but it is a financial issue. A 60% increase in kids going to hospital over the past decade costs the government $145M a year. And we also know that the reason for this is the government has cut spending for treatment in the community over the last 25 years by almost 50%. These figures are undeniable, unconscionable, unacceptable. The consequences are that youth continue to die by suicide. This is a crisis.
But we have a plan that the government can easily implement. This plan will ensure that youth get the treatment they need and it will not cost the government. By investing $115M in child and youth mental health centres throughout the province, the government will actually save $145M each year in hospital costs.
This is our plan:
- Ensure that no child or youth waits more than 30 days for treatment
- Expand specialized treatment centres for kids with the most severe mental health issues
- Retain highly skilled staff to care for our most vulnerable children
In our community this will mean that (insert impact in your community e.g., kids desperately in need of treatment will be served, reduce the use of police services, fewer youth will go to emergency department, kids with the most severe mental illness will get the help they need, highly specialized staff who care for vulnerable children will be available)
(omit if youth or families are speaking themselves) Youth and families have struggled to step forward to tell government that mental health is an important issue. But with less stigma, we are seeing youth become stronger leaders and advocating for change because mental health is important to them. The demonstration in Woodstock last year speaks to that. Parents are also stepping forward as strong leaders and advocates. Parents and youth want the government to act now.
Youth mental illness is a priority issue that must be addressed in the 2017 Budget. We must not continue to allow our children to die by suicide needlessly. We urge you to support the plan in Children’s Mental Ontario’s pre-budget submission (hand the document to them).
We ask that you go back to Premier Wynne and Minister Coteau and identify child and youth mental health as a key priority that must be addressed in your riding.