April 2, 2020, Toronto, ON – Today’s announcement by the Government of Ontario of a $12 million increase in funding towards mental health and addictions services to support Ontario families is welcome by Children’s Mental Health Ontario but it anticipates that an additional $100 million will be needed for COVID-19 emergency response services and children, in particular, remain vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19 on their mental well-being.
“Since COVID-19 Children’s Mental Health Ontario has been monitoring the demand for child and youth mental health services and reviewing new information and previous research to better understand and anticipate the need by Ontario familes as they self-isolate, withdraw from school, social settings and the workplace and we are anticipating a colossal surge of children, youth and their families seeking help in the coming weeks and well into 2021,” said Kim Moran
Children’s Mental Health Ontario agencies provide mental health services to 130,000 children and youth across the province. They are deemed an essential service and its agencies have quickly adapted to continue to deliver mental health programs and services virtually to help support Ontario’s kids.
Prior to COVID-19, 28,000 children and youth were waiting for mental health services were turning to hospital Emergency Rooms in droves with emergency department visits increasing over the last 11 years by 83 per cent according to CIHI data. Almost 100,000 youth were seeking help in hospital emergency departments annually.
Previous research focusing on the aftermath of other catastrophic outbreaks shows that another pandemic of mental health issues, PTSD and addiction will follow.
Children’s Mental Health Ontario anticipates that an additional $100 million will be needed for COVID-19 emergency mental health response services alone. As partners such as Kids Help Phone see more than a 350% increase for short-term crisis support, many of the kids they are helping now will end up being referred for therapy and counseling at our more than 100 agencies.
“Children and youth in Ontario and across Canada need our help now, says Moran. “Today’s acknowledgment is a good first start, but we can’t wait. We must start to ramp up our community-based public programs and services and expand our virtual care now. We look forward to working with the Ontario Government to identify further investments that are needed and further helping Ontario children, youth and families with their mental health issues.”
CMHO is offering online tips and resources. Its agencies are doing their best to keep up and families can locate help at www.cmho.org
For more information, please contact:
Kathleen Powderley, 416-803-5597, email@example.com
President, Responsible Communications