Government of Ontario ignores crisis of child and youth mental health in today’s response to COVID-19 2020-21 Budget
Toronto, ON, November 5, 2020: Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) is disappointed by today’s Government of Ontario budget which ignores the crisis identified by mental health care providers that Ontario children, youth and families are facing due to COVID-19 and the pre-pandemic wait of 28,000 kids of up to 2.5 years which is now growing rapidly.
With no new funding announced today, there will be no improvement in the levels of mental health service which is not meeting demand, leaving too many children behind. CMHO has identified and advised the Ministry of Health that there is a need for an increase of $150 million to reduce wait times to 30 days or less and to address the growing demand for services and gaps in child and youth mental health care.
Just last week, the Public Health Agency of Canada recognized in its annual report the considerable need by Canadians for mental health support and recommended adaptations and increased additional training be provided to mental health providers.
“This is a matter of life and death for some children, youth and their families, said Kim Moran, CEO of CMHO. “Families are in crisis and today’s lack of action will again delay help to kids in receiving the mental health services they need to help them and the wait will continue for thousands of kids,”
Inter-professional teams of psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapist, social workers and child and youth workers deliver high quality evidenced-based care to over 130,000 kids at over 90 community child and youth mental health centres in Ontario, with about half of those young people having complex and debilitating mental health challenges that impact them severely. Intensive treatment, sometimes 24/7 care, for both the child, youth and their family is needed.
The $12 million new funding announced in October is welcome, but it won’t put a dent in the backlog of a waitlist of thousands of kids. Increased new investments are required to hire clinical staff. The mental health of infants, children and youth is being impacted by the pandemic. Demand for mental health services is soaring.
CMHO and its sector partners will continue to advocate for increased emergency COVID-19 funding and work with the Ministry of Health on improved access to quality mental health care through the promised $3.8 billion investment over 10 years and look forward to the implementation of the Roadmap to Wellness.