My name is _____________,  (insert name or organization if you are representing one)

 

(If your MPP has already taken action around child and youth mental health)Thank you for your support of child and youth mental health treatment. You have (insert actions they have taken).

 

(Insert event specific to your community, if possible) Every month there is another headline about youth suicide—and we know that suicide is the second most common cause of death among our young people. We also know that kids are forced to wait for treatment and, often, that is why they die. This isn’t right.

 

(Insert the primary issue in your community e.g., long wait times, lack of specialized mental health services, retaining key staff,)

 

As many as one in five children and youth has a mental health issue, but five out of six of these young people don’t get the specialized treatment they need. Due to chronic underfunding, we are failing children, youth and families when they need us most.

 

Over the last 25 years, funding for community-based child and youth mental health treatment centres has effectively deteriorated by more then 55% and we are unable to meet increasing demand our services. Unsurprisingly, in the last decade, we’ve seen more than a 79% increase in kids being hospitalized for mental health issues. Not only does this cost the government $190M a year in avoidable expenditures, but hospitals are not equipped to deliver the right services—and for many kids, a hospital environment can make the challenges they’re experiencing even worse. 

 

When we look at how resourcing has diminished, we cannot allow ourselves to be surprised when we hear that young people are waiting for months or years for treatment; or that they are never getting the treatment they need; or that they are dying. This is a crisis.

 

But CMHO has a plan that the government can implement. This plan will ensure that youth get the treatment they need, while saving money on hospitalization costs. By investing  an additional $150M each year in child and youth mental health centres throughout the province, we can:

 

  1. Ensure access to counselling and psychotherapy within 30 days
  2. Expand specialized youth mental health and addictions services to ensure that children and youth get the treatment they need
  3. Scale 24/7 crisis support services to ensure kids and families don’t have to go to the emergency department

 

 

Youth and families have struggled to step forward to tell government that mental health is an important issue. But with less stigma, we are seeing youth become stronger leaders and advocating for change because mental health is important to them. 

 

Youth mental illness is a priority issue that must be addressed immediately. We must not continue to allow our children to die by suicide needlessly. We urge you to support our plan. 

 

We ask that you go back to Premier Ford and Deputy Premier Elliott and identify child and youth mental health as a key priority that must be addressed in your riding.

 

Thank you,