28,000 Ontario children and youth are waiting for community mental health services


Accessing child and youth mental health care in Ontario has become inequitable. A new report from CMHO reveals that in some parts of the province, children and youth are waiting as long as two and a half years for care from community child and youth mental health centres. For some communities, services are not available at all. That’s not right.

Families deserve and now expect mental health services for their children the same as they would physical health services. But, Ontario’s community child and youth mental health centres have been chronically underfunded, and are struggling to meet the rising demand.

For the best health outcomes, early mental health care intervention should be provided. Seventy per cent of mental health disorders present before the age of 17. 

 Read the 2020 Report on Wait Lists and Wait Times

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Ending the Wait

An annualized increase of $150 million a year is needed to end the wait for community child and youth mental health care. The increased investment, which is already provided through the federal government’s transfer and the matched funds from the province, will help Ontario families by:

  • Ensuring access to counselling and psychotherapy within 30 days
  • Expanding the range of intensive mental health and addiction services/supports for children and youth with significant and complex needs
  • Scaling 24/7 crisis support services to prevent kids and families from having to go to the emergency department
  • Increasing the age of eligibility up to 25 for child and youth mental health programs

At the same time, we can improve quality and navigation so services are easier to find.


New investments of $150 million a year in community child and youth mental health will:

  • Help 30,000 more Ontario families access care
  • Reduce wait times to 30 days or less
  • Improve quality for the 130,000 families currently accessing care
  • Help end hallway health care and save up to $260 million a year in preventable hospital visits


Read CMHO's 1 page summary

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Read CMHO's full recommendations for the 2020 provincial budget

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