CMHO's Latest Work

Children's Mental Health Ontario takes a leadership role in advocating for government investments, policies and programs that are responsive to the needs of children, youth and families seeking mental health services in Ontario. 

Kids Can't Wait - 2018 Pre-Budget Submission

Children’s Mental Health Ontario is urgently asking the government to commit to improving mental health outcomes for Ontario’s children and youth by making immediate strategic investments in community-based child and youth mental health centres. 


More than 12,000 children and youth in Ontario are currently waiting to access mental health services.  In some parts of the province, there are shocking wait times of up to 18 months at child and youth mental health centres, forcing many to seek treatment in hospitals. Since 2006-07, there has been a 63% increase in emergency department visits and a 67% increase in hospitalizations. When children receive treatment in hospitals, they are stabilized, kept for a few days, and are discharged only to wait in long lines for treatment at child and youth mental health centres. Tragically, some youth will die by suicide waiting for treatment.

Immediate investments into the child and youth mental health system are needed to deal with these pressing issues. These investments will save the province hundreds of millions of dollars in hospital costs in the short term, and potentially many billions of dollars in a range of health and social costs in the long term.

2017 Report Card: ANXIETY

Anxiety in children and youth is a pressing health concern in Ontario. A recent IPSOS survey conducted in the fall of 2017, shows that 6 in 10 Ontario youth have reported having concerns over their level of anxiety. The results of this survey have also shone on a light on the limitations of our current child and youth mental health care system. Half of parents who reported seeking treatment for their child's anxiety issues had difficulty in accessing the treatment they needed.

To draw attention to these issues, Children’s Mental Health Ontario has released our third annual Report Card on the state of Child & Youth Mental Health in Ontario. This Report Card highlights the government’s performance on key system issues and identifies critical areas where we must work together to make important improvements.

Children and Youth Mental Health Survey with Ipsos

Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) released findings in November, 2017 from a commissioned survey* with Ipsos Public Affairs that shows one in four Ontario parents have missed work to care for their child experiencing issues related to anxiety. The survey also reveals that there are a significantly higher number of parents in Ontario seeking mental health services for their children than previously thought (36 per cent vs. 20 per cent1) and of those who do, four in 10 didn’t get the help they needed or are still waiting.

The survey polled the general population in Ontarians and parents with children under age 25, and young Ontarians aged 18-34. Youth aged 18-24 were asked about their current experiences, and 25- to 34-year-olds were asked to reflect on their youth experiences. 

New data released by Canadian Institute for Health Information

Shows Kids With Mental Illness Turning in Desperation to Hospitals At Alarming Rates 

Too many children and youth are experiencing a mental health crisis because they can’t get the treatment they need, when and where they need it. On May 1st, 2017, CIHI released new figures which demonstrate that children and youth with mental health disorders are increasingly seeking treatment in hospitals because they cannot access treatment in their communities. Since 2006:

  • Emergency department visits for mental health disorders has risen by 63% and hospitalizations by 67% in Ontario – rates are higher than the national average.
  • Prevalence of mental health issues has stayed the same
  • During the same time hospitalizations for all other conditions fell by 18%
  • Kids are also being re-admitted at alarming rates – kids with mental health disorders are readmitted more than twice as often as those with other conditions.

Services at community-based children’s mental health treatment centres have been eroding in the last decade because funding has not kept up with demand. Service providers are increasingly required to do more, with less. Investments in the community sector could save the government $1 billion over the next five years.

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