Minister’s Advisory Group releases recommendations for Ontario’s mental health strategy
The Minister’s Advisory Group on the 10-Year Mental Health and Addictions Strategy (Minister’s Advisory Group) has released its final report and recommendations to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the result of 20 months of work, including provincial consultations. This is a step in the development of a provincial mental health and addictions strategy.
The report begins with an overview of the need, cost and opportunities for a mental health strategy in Ontario. Specific strategies and outcomes are then discussed in relation to five key goals: improve mental health and well-being for all Ontarians; stop stigma and discrimination; create healthy, resilient, inclusive communities; identify mental health and addiction problems early and intervene; and provide timely, high quality, integrated, person-directed health and other human services.
- Laying the foundation for good mental health early in life, and creating targeted education/awareness programs;
- Recruiting and developing a more diverse health and human services workforce to provide more culturally competent services;
- Aligning health, housing, employment and income support policies and programs;
- Working with local health integration networks (LHINs) to require agencies to have people with lived experience and family members as voting members on boards, and to include them in “tables” that bring together all agencies that serve people with lived experience;
- Developing practice guidelines and core competencies for early identification of mental health and addictions, and targeting early identification services to populations most at risk;
- Reinforcing the key role of primary care in early identification and intervention, particularly for those with mild to moderate mental health and addiction problems;
- Enhancing the capacity of community mental health and addiction services, and increasing the capacity of peer-support services;
- Developing and implementing a provincial Continuous Quality Improvement strategy and quality improvement approaches;
- Reducing unnecessary use of emergency services, and providing more effective mental health and addiction supports to police and courts; and
- Establishing an Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) and a provincial Mental Health and Addiction Council to support implementation of the strategy, and establishing LHIN-level local Mental Health and Addictions Networks to plan and integrate mental health and addictions services.
The Minister’s Advisory Group includes consumers, family members, health care providers and researchers with diverse experience and expertise in mental health issues from across the province. The group was asked to provide the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care with advice to guide the 10-year mental health and addictions strategy by identifying opportunities to strengthen and improve mental health and addictions services in Ontario.
See “Respect, Recovery, Resilience: Recommendations for Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions Strategy,” Report to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care from the Minister’s Advisory Group on the 10-Year Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, December 2010, available at www.health.gov.on.ca.
For more information about the development of a mental health and addictions strategy for Ontario, visit www.ontario.cmha.ca/policy.