- 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.
- Symptoms of child and youth mental health problems usually start in early childhood, and significant mental health problems can and do occur in young children.
- Due to chronic underfunding by the Ontario government and long wait times, many children and youth are forced to seek treatment in hospitals.
- Since 2006-07, there has been a 63% increase in emergency department visits and a 67% increase in hospitalizations for Ontario children and youth with mental health issues.
- 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.
It wasn't until she tried to take her life that we were finally provided with the care she had needed all along. But even then it was only for a short period of time. As soon as she started to feel better, she was discharged from treatment in hospital, without support to ensure that all the progress she made wasn't lost
Nicole German, mother of Maddie German Coulter who died by suicide April 11, 2015, while waiting for treatment
The 2018-19 budget offers an opportunity to significantly increase the ability of accredited child and youth mental health centres to meet the needs of infants, children, youth and families. An investment of $120M will facilitate the hiring of nearly 1,000 new professionals and will also:
- Ensure that no child or youth waits more than 30 days for mental health and addictions treatment • $36,000,000
- Expand specialized youth mental health and addictions centres to ensure that children and youth get the treatment they need • $48,500,000
- Retain the highest skilled staff caring for our most vulnerable children • $34,000,000
- Develop quality standards to deliver the best mental health and addictions services • $1,500,000
These children could be and are handled extremely well by the children's mental health centres in the area. If only these centres were properly funded, so much more could be done.
Dr. Robin Alter, Child Psychologist, Toronto