We urge you to email the Premier of Ontario, Hon. Kathleen Wynne and copy Minister Deb Matthews (Deputy Premier), Minister Michael Coteau (Children and Youth Services), Minister Eric Hoskins (Health and Long-term Care), and Minister Charles Sousa (Finance). This template can serve as a starting point for your letter – you are encouraged to make whatever changes necessary to reflect your own situation. The more personal experiences and thoughts you can include, the more impactful your letter will be.
Hon. Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario Legislative Building Queen's Park Toronto ON M7A 1A1
Dear Premier Wynne,
As a parent (sibling, mental health professional) who has supported a young person struggling with their mental health, I am writing to express my deep concerns about the government’s lack of attention on child and youth mental health. And, as you and your government finalize the 2017-18 budget, I urgently ask that you make an immediate investment of $118 million to ensure that all children and youth in the province have access to appropriate mental health treatment within 30 days or less. The health of our children and youth depends on it. I support the Children’s Mental Health of Ontario pre-budget submission (www.cmho.org/get-involved/ontario-budget-2017) that details the required investment.
I was pleased to see and applaud you for signing the Health Accord, which includes direct investment towards mental health services, over and above existing programs. However, there has been no indication by your government that you will use any of these funds to support children and youth with mental illness gain access to support services in the communities where they live.
Children and youth in urgent need of mental health care are waiting up to 1.5 years for treatment in some parts of the province, according to new data collected by Children’s Mental Health Ontario. The number of children and youth on wait lists for Children’s Mental Health Ontario Centres is also on the rise with nearly 12,000 kids waiting for therapy or intensive treatment. These children and youth are waiting to get the help they need and deserve because Ontario has not allocated sufficient resources to meet the needs of the growing number of children and youth seeking treatment for mental illness in the community-based sector. The province spends less than 1% of it’s healthcare budget on community based mental health treatment for children despite that fact that 1 in 5 kids have mental health issues. This is a major health issue that must be addressed.
Premier Wynne, will you commit to investing in children and youth mental health supports in the communities where they live in your 2017/18 budget and additionally through health transfer funds you will receive through the Health Accord?
The case for investment in children’s mental health has been demonstrated very clearly as the lifetime savings for each youth has been estimated by the Mental Health Commission of Canada as $140,000 per child.
The current system is failing to provide children and youth with the right kind of care at the right time in the right place. Since 2006-07, hospital emergency department admissions for children and youth with mental illness have increased by 54%, while in-patient admissions have increased by a startling 60%.
Premier Wynne, I urge you to invest $118 million immediately to children and youth mental health community-based services and make children and youth mental health a priority.
Deputy Premier, Hon. Deb Matthews, firstname.lastname@example.org