If there’s one simple thing you can do for Mental Health Week (May 7-13) this year, it’s join the growing number of Ontarians who’ve signed an online petition urging political parties to fund mental health and addictions care like physical health care.
More than 10,300 people from across Ontario have signed the petition, which can be found at erasethedifference.ca
With a provincial election one month away now is a crucial time to add your voice and demand funding parity.
“We all know someone who’s been touched by mental health issues. Whether it’s you, a family member, friend or colleague,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO, the Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario Division. “Do you want to see a mental health system that is stronger and more responsive to those seeking help? Then make your voice heard. Sign the petition and let candidates know that this issue will influence your vote.”
CMHA branches across Ontario are participating in the Erase the Difference campaign because they’ve seen first-hand how the mental health and addictions system is struggling to keep up with demand for service.
Despite evidence of the heavy burden of mental illness on society, the mental health and addictions sector has always been chronically underfunded compared to other parts of the health system.
Chronic underfunding means the system is ill equipped to help when people come forward looking for help. Without help, people struggling with mental health and addictions issues may reach a crisis point and end up in an emergency department or involved with the justice system.
The good news is that so far in the pre-election campaign, political parties have made mental health and addictions care a key issue. The Liberals, NDP and Ontario PCs all recognize that massive investments are needed to improve access to mental health and addictions services.
But one-time booster shots of funding aren’t enough.
“We need to keep pushing the Erase the Difference campaign. We want to make sure that political leaders are committed to funding mental health and addictions care like physical health care in the years ahead,” Quenneville said. “We want them to see that this is a voting issue for thousands of Ontarians.”
- in 2017 Ontario devoted just 6.5 per cent ($3.5 billion) of a total $54-billion health budget to mental health and addictions.
- The burden of mental illness in Ontario is 1.5 times that of all cancers combined and more than seven times of all infectious diseases.
- In Ontario the annual cost of alcohol-related health care, law enforcement, corrections, lost productivity, and other problems is estimated to be at least $5 billion.
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
416-977-5580 ext. 4141