Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario Division is calling out chronic underfunding and pandemic-related strain on the community-based mental health and addictions sector in its 2021 pre-budget submission to provincial government.
The pandemic has further highlighted the need to prioritize mental health and addictions funding for the community sector, which has demonstrated nimbleness and creativity while responding to unprecedented challenges. In its pre-budget submission, CMHA Ontario says this sector needs an infusion of funding to address historical inequities and give mental health appropriate parity with other health care sectors.
Noting that mental health and addictions services will be required more than ever post-pandemic, CMHA Ontario makes funding requests in five specific areas:
- A three per cent base budget increase for CMHA branches to cover additional operating costs and to appropriately compensate staff
- Harm reduction services, including safer supply approaches to protect communities and people who are at imminent risk of death due to toxic drug supply
- Post-pandemic support to allow CMHA branches to meet the expected increase in demand for community-based mental health and addictions services
- Supportive housing to build 30,000 new units over the next 10 years
- Expansion of mobile crisis response teams across every community to help keep clients safe when experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis and divert them into appropriate community-based services