The province has announced $14.75 million in new funding it says is aimed toward expanding innovative mental health and addictions services to support an uptick in demand during COVID-19.
This funding, announced Sept. 10, is in addition to previously-announced funding, including $12 million for the expansion of virtual mental health services in May and $14 million for the community mental health sector in August.
It’s expected $7 million will go to expand in-person mental health and addictions services, $4.75 million will go to support culturally-safe services for Indigenous communities – with a focus on children and youth – and $3 million will go to expand virtual and online services, such as Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division’s BounceBack program.
The additional funding comes as welcome news, but despite of these recent investments, mental health and addictions remains a chronically-underfunded sector.
COVID-19 has exposed more gaps in the system which are a result of inadequate funding. For example, during the pandemic, homelessness and opioid-related deaths have increased.
As this ongoing crisis unfolds, CMHA Ontario encourages the provincial government to consider the vital role that community mental health and addictions plays within the broader health care sector.
In July, Ontario’s leading mental health and addictions organizations, including CMHA, called on the province for a $100 million COVID-19 emergency response package.