CMHO's Latest Work

Children's Mental Health Ontario takes a leadership role in advocating for government investments, policies and programs that are responsive to the needs of children, youth and families seeking mental health services in Ontario. 

New data released by Canadian Institute for Health Information

Shows Kids With Mental Illness Turning in Desperation to Hospitals At Alarming Rates 

Too many children and youth are experiencing a mental health crisis because they can’t get the treatment they need, when and where they need it. On May 1st, 2017, CIHI released new figures which demonstrate that children and youth with mental health disorders are increasingly seeking treatment in hospitals because they cannot access treatment in their communities. Since 2006:

  • Emergency department visits for mental health disorders has risen by 63% and hospitalizations by 67% in Ontario – rates are higher than the national average.
  • Prevalence of mental health issues has stayed the same
  • During the same time hospitalizations for all other conditions fell by 18%
  • Kids are also being re-admitted at alarming rates – kids with mental health disorders are readmitted more than twice as often as those with other conditions.

Services at community-based children’s mental health treatment centres have been eroding in the last decade because funding has not kept up with demand. Service providers are increasingly required to do more, with less. Investments in the community sector could save the government $1 billion over the next five years.

Our Kids Deserve Better - 2017 Pre-Budget Submission

Children’s Mental Health Ontario is urgently asking the government to commit to improving mental health outcomes for Ontario’s children and youth by making immediate strategic investments in community-based child and youth mental health centres. 

More than 12,000 children and youth in Ontario are currently waiting to access mental health services.  In some parts of the province, there are shocking wait times of up to 18 months at child and youth mental health centres, forcing many to seek treatment in hospitals. Since 2006-07, there has been a 54% increase in emergency department visits and a 60% increase in hospitalizations for Ontario children and youth with mental health issues. When children receive treatment in hospitals, they are stabilized, kept for a few days, and are discharged only to wait in long lines for treatment at child and youth mental health centres. Tragically, some youth will die by suicide waiting for treatment.

Immediate investments in Ontario’s child and youth mental health centres will not only save lives, it will save the province hundreds of millions of dollars in hospital costs.  

2016 Report Card: Child & Youth Mental Health

Did you know that that, over the past 10 years, there has been a 54% increase in emergency department visits and a 60 % increase in hospitalizations for children and youth seeking treatment for mental health issues in Ontario? This data, recently released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, signals that our current mental health system is not working optimally.

To draw attention to these issues, Children’s Mental Health Ontario released its second annual Report Card on the state of Child & Youth Mental Health in Ontario. The Report Card highlights the government’s progress toward key policy commitments and identifies critical areas where we must work together to make important improvements.

Children and Youth Deserve More

Moving to a Child, Youth and Family Centred System of Care for Children, Youth and Youth with Severe Mental Health Issues
August 2016

Over the course of 18 months, CMHO led an in-depth policy initiative to consider solutions to the complex challenges facing the residential treatment sector. This report marks the third in our series on Residential Care and is CMHO's written response to the Residential Services Panel report. The report reflects extensive input from CMHO members and our Residential Treatment Steering Committee.

Breaking Point - A System Stretched Beyond its Limits

Breaking Point - A System Stretched Beyond its LimitsA Report on Community-Based Children’s Mental Health Centres
June 2016

On May 31st, 2016, over 100 mental health professionals attended an Open Space Conference in Toronto hosted by Children’s Mental Health Ontario to discuss the following focus question: “What can we do to transform children’s mental health services to meet the needs of the people we serve?”

This report is the culmination of the dialogue, themes and issues identified during the course of the day.

Pre-Budget Submission 2016

CMHO's 2016 Pre-Budget Submission, if acted upon, can save the province an estimated $700 million in health care costs over the next five years by investing $65 million each year in community-based children’s mental health centres. That’s a total savings of $375M to the province. Most importantly, a strategic investment in community-based children’s mental health centres will improve outcomes for children and youth and will save lives. For our Submission Summary, click here.

The Unique Value of Children’s Mental Health Centres

A CMHO Position Statement
November 2015

This statement clearly articulates the important role that children’s mental health centres (CMHCs) play in the system of care for infants, children, youth, and their families experiencing mental health issues.  We introduce the concept of a system of care, including hospitals, family physicians, schools, and CMHCs, that is in alignment with the seamless integration of services that our clients have identified. 

The paper makes the argument that if CMHCs are not able to serve clients in a timely manner due to insufficient government investment, the whole system of care is impacted.  It further argues that there are clear short-term impacts of an inadequately supported mental health system for children, youth and families, in addition to the long-term repercussions over the course of the child’s life.

2015 Report Card: Child & Youth Mental Health

The Report Card takes an honest look at the government’s progress toward key policy commitments on child and youth mental health, namely those related to access, accountability, and system coordination. It calls for the allocation of new resources to support increases in demand as well as improvements to service delivery and outcome measures. The Report Card aims to build understanding about the most pressing issues affecting community-based child and youth mental health centres and highlights important next steps toward achieving our collective goals.

Pre-Budget Submission 2015

Ontario has not allocated the resources needed to meet the needs of all the children and youth seeking treatment for mental illness in the community-based sector. These children and youth have significant and potentially life-threatening mental health challenges, including depression, suicidal thoughts, addictions or aggressive behaviours towards others. An annual investment of $30 million could provide treatment for an additional 7,000 children and youth per year and enable them to fulfill their potential.

Key Considerations and Components of a New Funding Model

Creating a More Efficient and Responsive Children’s Mental Health Sector
December 2014

This statement demonstrates that the development of a carefully designed funding model is a critical component of the successful transformation of the child and youth mental health system in Ontario. To take on the new strategies presented in the Ministry of Children and Youth Services' Draft Service Framework, the sector must first develop the financial capacity required to be responsive to the call for change. This statement outlines the necessary components of a new funding model, highlighting relevant features of commonly used funding principles for publicly financed health services. It also sheds light on the unique features of the child and youth mental health sector, which require special funding allocations to ensure that the quality of service delivery is protected throughout system transition and beyond.  

Multi-Sector Collaboration

Strengthening the Community-Based Mental Health Sector by Improving Coordination and Communication Across the Child Serving System
October 2014

Throughout this position statement, CMHO defines strategies for effective Multi-Sector Collaboration (MSC) that will better meet the mental health needs of children, youth and families and ensure that they receive coordinated and comprehensive care throughout the system transformation process and beyond.

The statement identifies:

  • The capacity required to develop successful MSC
  • Guidelines for MSC
  • Possible challenges and opportunities
  • Practical steps to engage stakeholders and build partnerships with various sectors

A New Framework for Service Accountability

Improving Outcomes for Children, Youth, and Families
February 2014

This position statement highlights the fact that a cohesive child and youth mental health system requires a shared understanding of common goals and effective communication strategies between and among service providers. The statement proposes that in order to ensure that the accountability goals are achieved, a joint effort is required to produce a new framework that addresses the prevalent community-based children’s mental health sector challenges.

Building a Better School Environment for Youth with Mental Health and Addictions Issues

In November 2013, Children’s Mental Health Ontario released Building a Better School Environment for Youth with Mental Health and Addictions Issues, a report by its Youth Action Committee. Recommendations in the report focus on the need for improved communication between students and educators, increased resources to ensure more young people seek help, and a greater level of mental health education in the school curriculum. The report earned positive feedback from media, mental health leads in Ontario school boards, teachers, allies, and more. For the official news release click here.  

Watch press conference at Queen's Park here.

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