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Provincial budget doesn’t address mental health and addictions needs for Ontarians

February 26, 2016

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario Division is disappointed with the lack of new investment in mental health and addictions. Thousands of Ontarians are forced to continue waiting for vital supportive housing and mental health and addictions services.

The budget allocation for health care overall is more than $51 billion but the community mental health and addictions sector will continue to function with about two percent, or about $1 billion. This despite the fact the burden of mental illnesses and addictions in Ontario is more than one-and-a-half times the burden of all cancers, and seven times the burden of all infectious diseases.

“We understand the budgetary pressures the government faces, but mental health and addictions is nowhere close compared to the funding physical health conditions receive.”  –  CMHA Ontario CEO Camille Quenneville.

“We understand the budgetary pressures the government faces but mental health and addictions is nowhere close compared to the funding physical health conditions receive,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO of CMHA Ontario. “The effect of mental health and addictions on society is immense and a lack suitable supports has a dramatic impact on the lives of those we serve.”

In its pre-budget submission, CMHA Ontario asked for an increase in base funding, more help with supportive housing – which is vital to recovery – as well as targeted investment to help the community mental health and addiction sector develop and implement a new data, performance measurement and quality improvement strategy.

Developing a high quality, person-centred mental health and addictions system is a key goal for the government-appointed Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council. As a member of the council, Quenneville will work with partners to advise government on the implementation of Ontario’s Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy.

“CMHA Ontario will continue to work with government and other partners to help people get the right mental health care, where they live and when they need it,” Quenneville said.

Fast Facts:

  • One in five people will experience a mental health issue or a mental illness every year.
  • Every day, 500,000 Canadians will miss work because of a mental health issue.
  • The economic cost of mental health problems and illnesses to the Canadian economy is at least $50 billion per year.

About Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) works toward a single mission: to make mental health possible for all. The vision of CMHA Ontario is a society that believes mental health is the key to well-being. CMHA Ontario works closely with 31 local branches in communities across the province to ensure the quality delivery of services in the areas of mental health, addictions, dual diagnosis and concurrent disorders. Through policy formulation, analysis and implementation, agenda setting, research, evaluation and knowledge exchange, we work to improve the lives of people with mental health and addictions conditions and their families. 

For more information, contact:
Joe Kim
Communications Director
Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario
jkim@ontario.cmha.ca

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