The Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Alliance is a coalition of nine organizations, including CMHA Ontario, from across the continuum of care – from community to hospital services, including consumer and family organizations. The goal of the Alliance is to ensure that mental health and addictions are a priority during the 2014 provincial election campaign. At the start of the campaign, the Alliance had reached out to the party leaders of the provincial Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democrats and the Ontario Greens with specific questions about mental health and addictions. The Allliance is pleased to report the parties have responded to the questions below. The answers are available on the Alliance website.
Specifically, the party leaders were asked the following five questions:
- The cost of mental illness and addiction is estimated to be $39 billion in Ontario. Meanwhile, access to mental health and addiction services is generally very poor and varies widely across the province. Assuming this is unacceptable to your party, what specific measures would your government take to ensure that people with mental illness and addictions across Ontario get the care they need?
- In 2011 the provincial government launched Open Minds, Healthy Minds, Ontario’s Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy. Would your government support the continued implementation of this strategy? What would your party do to ensure continued progress in this area?
- Supports and services for people with mental illness and addiction often cross many different government ministries. How would your party ensure there is broad, government-wide leadership on mental health and addictions?
- Reducing hospitalization (and re-hospitalization) of people with mental illness requires access to affordable housing with supports. How will your party improve access to supportive housing?
- Is there anything else you would want Ontarians to know about your commitment to mental health and addictions services?
Please use the party answers and all informational resources on the Alliances website to help you and your organization engage with local candidates and give voice to mental health and addictions issues during this year’s election.