The first week of May (May 1 – 7) is a time for communities, families and friends to come together to mark Children’s Mental Health Week. Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) and our members are encouraging Ontarians to take some time this week to recognize the importance of mental health and that many children and their families are struggling. This year’s theme, as lead by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), is centred around sharing stories.
We are joining our friends at CMHA to put a spotlight on community-based mental health care champions, programs and communities. We encourage you to use #MyStory and #CMHW2023 to share your story about why #kidscantwait and the work you are doing to shine a spotlight or help address gaps in child and youth mental health care.
As we come out of the pandemic, a clearer picture is emerging around its negative impact on child and youth mental health, especially for kids with serious mental health issues. Even with the reopening post-pandemic, children and youth are still experiencing increased mental health issues and access to mental health care services can be difficult despite our efforts to meet the growing demand.
Mid-pandemic, hospital data showed that of the top 10 reasons children and youth ages five to 17 were hospitalized, mental health issues took the number one, two, four and 10 spots. There is more work to do, but the Ontario government has shown through its recent new investments of $425 million a clear commitment that they recognize the current crisis, and want to take steps to address it. Now is the time to ensure that these investments and more are used to stabilize Ontario’s child and youth mental health care system and to help the increasing number of kids urgently requiring care.
Annually, during Children’s Mental Health Week, Children’s Mental Health Ontario reach out to the families, the broader community, and all levels of government to share lived experiences about facing mental health challenges, the challenges in meeting the growing needs of kids and their families and to listen. This year, we encourage Ontarians to share your stories with each other or online using #MyStory and #CMHW2023.
A list of local and Ontario mental health resources for parents and kids is available at cmho.org/findhelp