Lisa Gretzky MPP, for Windsor West

Government of Ontario

Gretzky reads letter from Windsor mother to Premier demanding support for youth with mental health challenges

Published on December 14, 2017

QUEEN’S PARK – In question period today, Lisa Gretzky, NDP MPP for Windsor West, read a heartbreaking letter from Windsor mother Ida Harry, detailing her constant struggle in trying to find support for her 12-year-old son with serious mental health concerns.

Gretzky  demanded action for Ida and thousands of other families throughout Ontario that have been let down time and time again by the Wynne government as they wait more than a year for mental health services.

“When Ida’s son attempted suicide they went to the emergency room, where they waited for six hours before speaking with a medical student and a counselor, and were then sent home,” said Gretzky. “They have made numerous trips to the hospital, but have not received the support they need.”

“Ida’s son has been on wait list after wait list. He has waited for psychologists, waited for beds in support centres, and waited in hospitals,” said Gretzky.

There are 12,000 children and youth waiting for mental health treatment in Ontario -- some wait for as long as 18 months. An estimated 6,500 are waiting more than a year. Monique Taylor, NDP critic for Children and Youth tabled a motion on Tuesday calling on the Liberal government to eliminate waitlists for children and youth who need treatment at community-based mental health centres.

Reciting Ida’s own words, Gretzky shared an excerpt from the letter, written to her on Tuesday.

“‘Our children are victims of the province’s neglect to provide adequate mental health care for our youth. I implore the province and its officials to do something now before it’s too late’,” said Gretzky. “Ida asked me in her letter, ‘Does my son need to be on his death bed to get any help?’”

“Will the Premier answer that question for Ida?” asked Gretzky.