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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. 

Right time, right care: Strengthening Ontario’s mental health and addictions system of care for children and young people

Schools are uniquely positioned to identify mental health needs and support early intervention because children and young people spend much of their time there. Often, they encounter unique needs that are best addressed by community-based mental health agencies, but service providers in schools don’t always know how, when and where to direct children, young people and families to access care. This foundational resource was developed to support an integrated system of care between the education and child and youth mental health and addictions sectors. The document, which is intended for leaders in schools and community-based child and youth mental health and addictions organizations, describes four common foundations of a system of care, outlines aspirational roles and responsibilities for partners, details the importance of care pathways and explains key factors that support implementation.

Return to school during COVID-19: Considerations for Ontario’s child and youth community mental health service providers 

The Ontario government declared a state of emergency on March 17, 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This resulted in the closure of schools, childcare centres, many public service facilities and businesses. Six months of quarantine and physical distancing restrictions have led to a series of cascading social and economic impacts. A growing body of evidence demonstrates the pandemic’s negative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of Ontario’s children, youth and their caregivers – particularly amongst those with pre-existing mental health challenges (Hawke et al., 2020; CMHO, 2020; Radomski et al., 2020a; 2020b).

CMHO Annual Report Card: The Burden of Kids Mental Illness on Families & the Economy

CMHO has released our Annual Report Card, disclosing new research findings from the Canadian Centre for Health Economics at the University of Toronto calculating a productivity loss in Ontario (due to absenteeism) of $421 million in 2017 for parents with children who experience issues related to anxiety. This new research was conducted in response to CMHO’s 2017 Ipsos Public Affairs survey that discovered 1 in 4 Ontario parents have reported missing work to care for a child with issues related to anxiety. This year’s report card also includes results from a series of interviews done with Ontario parents and caregivers who have sought treatment for a child’s mental health issues as well as survey findings from siblings of young people with mental illness. 

Ontario’s Kids and Families Can’t Wait

Ontario’s child and youth mental health (CYMH) centres provide mental health services to more than 120,000 kids and their families annually. But, across the province thousands of infants, children and youth are waiting up to 18 months for the treatment they need. And many families have a hard time knowing where to go for help, or finding our services at all. As a system and as a province, we are failing these kids and families. And our hospitals, schools, justice systems, colleges and universities and economy are feeling the impact.

With $1.9 billion in new mental health funding from the provincial government and a matched federal commitment over the next decade—totaling $3.8 billion—there is finally an opportunity to address the crisis in child and youth mental health.

70% of mental health and substance use problems begin in childhood. By implementing our First Point Plan we can drive better lifelong outcomes and bring desperately needed relief to families and overcrowded hospitals. Strategic investments of an additional $150 million a year will enable us to hire and train 1,400 front-line professionals to: 


Ensure access to counselling and psychotherapy within 30 days


Expand specialized youth mental health and addictions services to ensure that children and youth get the treatment they need


Scale 24/7 crisis support services to ensure kids and families don’t have to go to the emergency department

Children and Youth Mental Health Survey with Ipsos

Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) released findings in November, 2017 from a commissioned survey* with Ipsos Public Affairs that shows one in four Ontario parents have missed work to care for their child experiencing issues related to anxiety. The survey also reveals that there are a significantly higher number of parents in Ontario seeking mental health services for their children than previously thought (36 per cent vs. 20 per cent1) and of those who do, four in 10 didn’t get the help they needed or are still waiting.

The survey polled the general population in Ontarians and parents with children under age 25, and young Ontarians aged 18-34. Youth aged 18-24 were asked about their current experiences, and 25- to 34-year-olds were asked to reflect on their youth experiences.

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