Children’s Mental Health Ontario thanks the Ontario Government for its continued investments to address the backlog to access pediatric health services, including child and youth mental health and addiction care.
The mental health of children and youth significantly deteriorated during the pandemic, especially for kids with pre-existing serious and complex mental health conditions and equity-deserving populations. At last count, over 28,000 Ontario children and youth were waiting an average of nine months across the province, and in some worst-case scenarios, they are waiting up to 2.5 years.
Too many kids and families end up in hospitals because they can’t get the sustained mental health services they need due to a lack of resources at community child and youth mental health centres. Today’s investment, combined with investments made in Budget 2023, advances an innovative system of community care for child and youth mental health, focusing first on the children and youth with the most complex and intensive needs and those in rural, remote, and Northern communities where gaps are the largest.
Not only will today’s funding provide better access and clear pathways to high-quality care for kids and families, but it will also free up hospital capacity to address other urgent care needs and reduce health system costs overall. This is a critical step forward and CMHO will continue to advocate and raise youth and family voices to ensure all kids and families across Ontario have equitable and timely access to high quality mental health care.