People in Ontario’s rural and northern communities have higher self-reported rates of fair or poor mental health, compared to the provincial average. CMHA Ontario is concerned about this disparity and remains committed to working with our local Branches to address the systemic barriers contributing to this inequity. In the past, CMHA Ontario has highlighted key challenges facing these communities and will continue to monitor any developments that focus on addressing mental health issues in northern Ontario.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne publicly released mandate letters to each Cabinet Minister in late September, outlining key priorities in 2014-2015 for their respective ministries. This is the first time that expectations for Ontario provincial cabinet ministers have been made public. CMHA, Ontario is encouraged to see that seven of the mandate letters include improvements for individuals with mental health issues.
The transition from prison to community can be incredibly challenging, which is one reason why almost half of all female prisoners are back behind bars within one year of their release and most have multiple prison terms, mainly for drug-related offenses.
As long-time advocates for increases to supportive housing, CMHA Ontario is pleased to see improved housing and ending homelessness as central long-term goals of Ontario’s new Poverty Reduction Strategy, Realizing Our Potential.
The numbers are in. According to the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association’s (ONPHA) latest report, the province needs 68 per cent more social housing units. This is the increase that would be required to house all of the Ontario households currently waiting for rent-geared-to-income (RGI) units. This is a 4.2 per cent increase over last year.
As post-secondary students get into the swing of classes and extracurricular activities, academic, financial and personal challenges can contribute to significant stress, anxiety and depression. A few students may even contemplate suicide, which is the second most common cause of death for individuals aged 18 to 24.
Gail Czukar has accepted the position of CEO for Addictions and Mental Health Ontario, an organization of community-governed, not-for-profit agencies that provide a full continuum of services and supports to help individuals in Ontario facing mental health and addiction issues.
The Ontario government has announced that it will undertake a collaborative approach to ensure that provincial hospitals have the capacity to support injured children, whether Palestinian or Israeli, who are victims of the current crisis in the Middle East.
A new initiative to increase access to mental health and addiction services for First Nations communities has resulted in increased dialogue between partners and the Minweyaanigoziwin Mapping Project, a new website that links Kenora-area First Nations residents with service providers.