QUEEN’S PARK – Lisa Gretzky (Windsor West) joined the Ontario NDP to advocate for solutions to the mental health care crisis, calling for an 8 per cent emergency increase for community mental health across Ontario.
“Ontario is facing a mental health crisis,” said Gretzky. “With high rates of anxiety, depression, and burnout becoming increasingly common, more Ontarians are seeking support every day. When people make the decision to seek care, they often find that care is unavailable, unaffordable, or a painfully long wait time. In a crisis, people can’t afford to wait.”
According to Children’s Mental Health Ontario, about 28,000 children and youth were on waiting lists for mental health treatment in January 2020. That’s more than double the rate since 2017, just before Ford took office.
During the pre-budget tour, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) made repeated calls for an 8 per cent emergency increase to community mental health funding, speaking in cities from Kenora to Windsor.
“Windsor has one of the longest wait times in the province for intensive children’s mental health care, an average wait of 588 days”, said Gretzky. “Our children can’t wait - they need access to services immediately.”
Despite the increasing demand, base funding for the Canadian Mental Health Association has fallen significantly behind the rate of inflation. The Mental Health Strategy for Canada has recommended raising mental health funding to approximately 5.7 billion dollars in Ontario.
“The Ontario NDP are listening to the CMHA, and today we are tabling a motion to authorize an 8 per cent emergency stabilization investment in community mental healthcare,” said Gretzky. “The Premier must commit to treating mental health care as health care. He must sign off on this common-sense solution and provide the support that our communities are asking for.”