The Ontario government is providing an additional $176 million this year to help expand access for critical mental health and addictions supports during COVID-19. This funding is part of the province’s investment of $3.8 billion over 10 years and enables Ontario’s comprehensive plan, A Roadmap to Wellness, to deliver high-quality care and build a modern, connected and comprehensive mental health and addictions system.
Details were provided Wednesday, during Mental Illness Awareness Week, by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
“Our incredible mental health workers and researchers carry out important work each and every day to help people cope with serious issues and save lives,” said Premier Ford. “Today’s ongoing investment not only delivers on our government’s historic commitment to invest billions in mental health over 10 years, but it will also provide care for thousands of people, including frontline health workers and first responders, who need such critical supports during these challenging times.”
The increased funding will help address urgent gaps in care, enhance access to mental health and addictions services, create new supports and expand programs in several priority areas, including:
- Community-based services in English and French, including services for children and youth;
- Mental health and justice services;
- Supportive housing for individuals with serious mental health and addiction challenges, and who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless;
- Community and residential addictions, including treatment and care for opioid addictions;
- Increased supports for Indigenous peoples, families, and communities; and
- More hospital in-patient beds for mental health and addiction patients.
As part of this funding, the province is investing in targeted community and residential addictions services including:
- $4 million for nurse practitioners for detox services to improve the medical management of clients who are withdrawing from substance use in residential withdrawal management facilities;
- $8 million for addictions day and evening care to increase access to intensive non-residential addictions and substance use treatment services for youth and adults;
- $3.5 million for in-home/mobile withdrawal management services to increase access to community withdrawal management services for hard to service clients, including those located in rural areas; and
- Over $900,000 for an additional four inpatient beds at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to support capacity pressures at CAMH.
“By making these investments, our government is making it easier for people to find and access high-quality mental health and addictions services when and where they need them,” said Elliott. “We’re working across government and with system partners to provide long-term stability and investments in critical services to improve and modernize the system and close urgent gaps in care.”
Ford, Elliott, Tibollo joined CAMH to celebrate the grand opening of the third phase of their historic redevelopment project. The McCain Complex Care and Recovery Building and the Crisis and Critical Care Building will transform mental health care in the province, with spaces that support recovery and promote community integration for patients in a connected and coordinated system of care. This includes capacity for 235 inpatient beds, Ontario’s first 24/7 emergency department dedicated to mental health, and new and expanded ambulatory programs. The province is providing $633 million to support the CAMH project.
“We made a promise to the people of Ontario to address the growing frustration with capacity issues within our mental health and addictions system,” said Tibollo. “Despite the additional challenges facing Ontarians during this outbreak, we are focused on increasing capacity and addressing wait times for services, so that Ontarians can get quality care and improve their quality of life.”
To enable Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario is investing $3.8 billion over 10 years to create new services and expand programs. The province has started to fill urgent gaps in care as identified by system partners. This year’s $176 million increase builds on the $174 million the government invested last year in more funding for mental health and addictions programs, bringing new base investments across the sector since 2019-20 to a total of more than $350 million.