CAMH survey re-affirms Ontario’s need for mental health services overhaul

QUEEN'S PARK — New findings from a CAMH survey showing a rise in mental health challenges among Ontario adults re-affirms the province’s dire need for a mental health services overhaul, says NDP critic for Mental Health and Addictions, Bhutila Karpoche. She said Doug Ford's $330-million cut to mental health funding is dragging Ontario in the wrong direction.

CAMH’s Monitor survey showed an uptick, between 2016 and 2017, in the number of Ontario adults who reported “frequent mental distress.” The number of adults who reported thoughts of suicide nearly doubled during that time.

The survey also pointed to the growing incidence of addictions and mental health problems among young people aged 18 to 29.

“These survey results are profoundly worrying, but the story these numbers tell — the story of a growing number of Ontarians suffering from mental health challenges but not getting the services or support they need — is not a new story,” said Karpoche.

“The Liberals really let people down when it came to mental health and addictions services, but by cutting planned funding, Doug Ford is making things worse for people. The lack of funding means longer waits for services, fewer supports and more people in crisis.”

Karpoche has put forward a private member's bill to cap mental health and addictions service wait times at no more than 30 days for children and youth 26 and younger.  

“The Ontario NDP is fighting for an overhaul of mental health services that includes a dedicated Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions," said Karpoche. "We want to see 2,200 new mental health care workers hired, mental health workers in schools, and, given the link between homelessness and mental health, we're fighting for 30,000 new supportive housing units.

"Mental health affects us all. Ontario has to do better, because people deserve better."

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