More than 20,000 kids and their families now have quicker and easier access to the right mental health services, according to the province.
Ontario launched its Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy in June 2011, to deliver more high-quality and timely services and support for kids and families, and to build awareness and support around mental health issues by reducing stigma and discrimination, identifying problems and intervening early.
One year later, more young people are getting the help they need in their communities, according to a press release. New services and supports for kids include:
- More than 400 new mental health workers in communities, schools and courts helping to provide more timely access to services;
- 144 nurses working in schools to support early identification and intervention of students with potential mental health and/or addiction issues;
- Expanded eating disorders services for severely ill children and youth;
- New resources and supports for educators to better support students with mental health needs by September;
- New Aboriginal mental health workers to work in high-needs Aboriginal communities to provide kids with culturally-appropriate services, beginning this summer;
- Expanded telepsychiatry (video counselling) services for kids in remote, rural and underserviced communities to provide more kids with consultations with child psychiatrists, beginning this fall.
The province is building a mental health system “that delivers the services our children and youth need, when they need it, and as close to home as possible,” Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Children and Youth Services, said. “This year, during Children's Mental Health Week, let's celebrate the progress we've made together with all our partners and let's renew our commitment to improving the lives of kids and their families with mental health needs."
"We are taking steps to strengthen and improve services for children and youth experiencing mental health challenges,” Deb Mathews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, said. “This initiative is part of our Action Plan for Health Care, which focuses on providing the right care at the right time - and that means early interventions to help youth with mental health problems when they first appear."
May 7 kicked off Mental Health Week not only to focus on young people, but people from all walks of life, young and old, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association. CMHA created MHW 61 years ago to raise awareness of mental illness in Canada. The event is now an annual national public awareness week that takes place in May and encourages people to learn, talk, reflect and engage with others on all issues relating to mental health and mental illness.
Mental Health For All is this year’s national theme because mental health is important for all Canadians and mental illness can touch anyone, according to the CMHA, which is encouraging Canadians to continue to talk and learn more about maintaining and improving mental health and its connection to their overall health during Mental Health Week.
Mental Health Week 2012 will focus on five mental health topics, including: Kids Have Stress Too; Workplace Mental Health; Resiliency at Home, at School, at Work; Stigma and Discrimination; and Mental Health is Everyone’s Concern.
“The CMHA has been a champion for mental health since 1918 and has played an important role in improving people’s understanding of mental health and mental illness. We work to improve mental health for all and reduce the discrimination and stigma associated with mental health problems,” Peter Coleridge, National CEO, CMHA, said.
“While we encourage Canadians to talk openly about their mental health anytime during the year, Mental Health Week is the perfect time for people to learn about practical ways to maintain and improve their mental health and talk about mental illness,” Coleridge added. “It’s a time to reflect on our attitudes and behaviours towards people living with mental health problems in our schools, workplaces, and at all levels in our society.”
- Approximately one in five Ontario children and youth has a mental health challenge, and 70 per cent of mental health challenges begin in childhood or adolescence.
- More than 50,000 kids and their families will benefit from Ontario's Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, which includes investments totalling $257 million over the next few years.
- The strategy targets three key areas: fast access to high-quality services, early identification and support, and helping vulnerable kids with unique needs.
- Children's Mental Health Week, May 7-13, aims to decrease the stigma that young people experience and to increase awareness of mental health.
Posted by Arron Pickard