The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Ontario welcomes phase two of the Ontario government’s 10-year Comprehensive Mental Health and Addiction Strategy. The next phase of the Open Minds, Healthy Minds Strategy was unveiled November 25, 2014 by Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care along with Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children and Youth Services.
The launch took place at LOFT Community Services in downtown Toronto, reflecting the commitment to expand affordable and supportive housing, a critical component of recovery from mental illness and addiction.
“We’re pleased to see the strategy include a commitment to expand affordable and supportive housing,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO of CMHA Ontario. “Access to more housing with supports has long been a priority for the mental health sector as the wait times are currently too long. People in Ontario can wait years for a supportive housing unit.”
Quenneville, who was present at the launch, has been asked to serve on the Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council. CMHA Ontario looks forward to providing advice about strengthening the mental health and addictions field through enhanced collaboration with partners and strategic community investment.
The next phase will be built on the five foundational pillars of:
1. Promoting Mental Health and Well-being
• focus on proven programs to promote mental health in schools and workplace
2. Ensuring Early Identification and Intervention
• focus on using virtual applications to access services; expanding training, mentorship, and support programs led by service providers; expanding existing self-help and early intervention programs
3. Expanding Housing, Employment Supports and Diversion and Transitions from the Justice System
• Increasing supportive housing with focus on preventing homelessness
• Expanding workplace mental health programs
• Initiatives to reduce contact with justice system; improve transitions between police and emergency rooms.
4. Providing the Right Care, at the Right Time, in the Right Place
5. Developing integrated service coordination across Health Links and Ministry of Children and Youth Services lead agencies, and strengthening coordination between service collaboratives and Health Links.
6. Funding Based on Need and Quality
• Establish a new funding model linked to population need, quality improvement and service integration.
CMHA Ontario is part of the Ontario Mental Health and Addiction Alliance. The Alliance has been working since 2011 to ensure that mental health and addictions are a provincial government priority.
Open Minds, Healthy Minds was launched in 2011 and had four guiding goals:
- Improve mental health and well-being for all Ontarians;
- Create healthy, resilient, inclusive communities;
- Identify mental health and addictions problems early and intervene;
- Provide timely, high quality, integrated, person-directed health and other human services.
The first three years of the Strategy focused on children and youth in three key areas: fast access to high-quality services, early identification and intervention and bridging services gaps for remote communities and children and youth with complex needs. Phase one has provided more than 50,000 additional children and youth with access to mental health and addiction services.
The next six years of the Strategy will build on the first phase and expand to support the transition between youth and adult services, and to improve the quality of services for Ontarians of all ages who have mental illness and addictions.