Community-based mental health and addictions agencies like the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) are integral components to ending hallway medicine and relieving the pressures on hospital emergency departments and criminal justice and social services systems. CMHAs across Ontario offer holistic approaches to care, where clients receive appropriate clinical services as well as supports in areas such as housing and employment to address their social determinants of health. Many of our services are offered in partnership with other service providers and with multiple government ministries. A key focus of our work is to address the needs of Ontarians living with substance use and addictions conditions, offering rapid access to addictions medicine, withdrawal management and other treatments, services and supports.
In 2019, Ontario will have the benefit of tapping into an unprecedented investment in mental health and addictions care. A record $1.9 billion commitment from the provincial government presents a unique opportunity to sustain existing mental health and addictions services to meet the increasing needs of Ontarians, as well as develop new evidence-based, cost-effective services.
Five evidence-based, cost-effective priority investment areas for the mental health and addictions sector
1. Access to a standardized core set of mental health and addictions services across Ontario.
2. New investments for data infrastructure to enable better health quality improvement
3. Direct investments in supportive housing
4. Enhanced integration of primary care and mental health and addictions services
5. Expansion of Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams (MCITs)
The unprecedented $1.9 billion investment in mental health and addictions must be directed to sustain existing community-based services and to develop new evidence-based, cost-effective programs to meet the increasing needs of Ontarians. This historic provincial investment provides a unique opportunity for government to engage with our community-based mental health and addictions sector. We are an integral partner that can help end hallway medicine and relieve the pressures on hospital emergency departments and the criminal justice and social services system.
 The Mentoring, Education, and Clinical Tools for Addiction: Primary Care-Hospital Integration (META:PHI). (2017). META:PHI– How One Initiative is Increasing Access to Evidence Based Treatments for Substance Use Issues. Retrieved from: The Mentoring, Education, and Clinical Tools for Addiction
 Lamanna, D., et al. (2015). Toronto Mobile Crisis Intervention Team (MCIT): Outcome Evaluation Report. Toronto, Canada: Centre for Research on Inner City Health, St. Michael’s Hospital. See also: Kisely, S., et al. (2010). A controlled before-and-after evaluation of a mobile crisis partnership between mental health and police services in Nova Scotia. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 55(10), 662-668; Saunders, J. A. & Marchik, B. M. A. (2007). Building community capacity to help persons with mental illness: A program evaluation. Journal of Community Practice, 15(4), 73-96; Baess, E. P. (2005). Integrated Mobile Crisis Response Team (IMCRT): Review of pairing police with mental health outreach services. Victoria, Canada: Vancouver Island Health Authority; Tacchi, M. J., et al. (2003). Evaluation of an emergency response service. The Psychiatrist, 27, 130-133; Scott, R. L. (2000). Evaluation of a mobile crisis program: effectiveness, efficiency, and consumer satisfaction. Psychiatric Services, 51, 1153-1156.