(Toronto, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018) – This year, Ontarians have an opportunity to push for lasting change on Bell Let’s Talk Day.
Sign the petition at www.erasethedifference.ca and send a strong message to provincial election candidates that mental health and addictions care in Ontario should be funded the same as physical health care.
The petition is spearheaded by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario Division and has been launched in the lead up to the June provincial election.
“Awareness campaigns such as Bell Let’s Talk Day are welcome and extremely valuable as they help break the stigma and reduce the discrimination associated with mental health and addictions,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO of CMHA Ontario.
“But the fact remains that mental health and addictions services in Ontario remain chronically underfunded compared to other parts of the health system,” she said. “Without regular and ongoing investment into the system, people coming forward to seek help can end up languishing while they wait for service.”
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.[i]
The mental health and addictions share of the health budget is 6.5 per cent. In 1979, it was 11.3 per cent. [iv]
CMHA Ontario represents 30 branches throughout the province. Together with other local agencies, CMHAs belong to a community-based mental health and addictions sector that serves half a million Ontarians.
But CMHA branches, like many community-based agencies, haven’t received budget increases in as many as eight years. Without ongoing investment, CMHA branches face challenges maintaining or enhancing vital services such as case management, counselling and supportive housing.
“Couple that with rising operational expenditures means that many CMHA branches have challenges with staff recruitment and retention,” Quenneville said.
“What we’re finding is that our branches are losing dedicated, compassionate and caring staff to other opportunities that give them more financial security. In the end, it’s a detriment to our clients.”
- One in five Ontarians experience a mental health problem or illness in any given year.
- 500,000 Canadians will miss work due to mental health issues in any given week
- In just three weeks, more than 4,000 Ontarians have signed the petition at erasethedifference.ca
About Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
Incorporated in 1952, CMHA Ontario provides community-based programs and services across the province to meet the needs of individuals seeking support with their mental health and addictions. Our 30 local CMHA branches are part of a community-based mental health sector which serves approximately 500,000 Ontarians annually. CMHA Ontario actively contributes to health systems development by recommending policy options to improve the lives of all Ontarians. Through leadership, collaboration and the continual pursuit of excellence in community-based mental health and addiction services, CMHA works to achieve the vision of a society that embraces and invests in the mental health of all people.
For more information, contact:
Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
T: 416-977-5580, ext. 4141
[i] Ratnasingham S, Cairney J, Rehm J, Manson H, Kurdyak PA. (2012) Opening Eyes, Opening Minds: The Ontario Burden of Mental Illness and Addictions Report https://www.ices.on.ca/Publications/Atlases-and-Reports/2012/Opening-Eyes-Opening-Minds
[ii] Brien et al. (2015). Taking Stock: A report on the quality of mental health and addictions services in Ontario. An HQO/ICES Report. Toronto: Health Quality Ontario and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, as cited in Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (2012) Mental Illness and Addictions: Facts and Statistics. http://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/about_camh/newsroom/for_reporters/Pages/addictionsmentalhealthstatistics.aspx
[iii] Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (2017) 2017- 2018 Published Plan and 2016-2017 Annual Report http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/common/ministry/publications/plans/ppar17/
[iv] Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. (1979) Estimated Allocations of Mental Health and Addictions Expenditures- 1979-1980. Reports published by Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. (No longer in publication and not available online).