Ontario youth representatives with lived experiences of mental health issues today met with Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Christine Elliott and Minister Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services to request that the Ministers be accountable to engaging in a more formalized process with youth on child and youth mental health and addiction policy and to further discuss the recommendations found in its report Crisis to Quality.
The youth from Ottawa, Windsor, Sault Ste Marie, Sudbury and Hamilton are from Children’s Mental Health Ontario’s Youth Action Committee which represents hundreds of other youth across the province working to reduce stigma and advocating for an improved mental health system.
“Engagement with youth who have lived experiences of mental illness and expertise in the Ontario child and youth mental health system is critical to make a shift from crisis to quality care, said 21-year-old Kaitlinn Gammon of Sudbury. “Young people in Ontario are in crisis because they can’t get the right kind of mental health support at the right time in their local community especially as they transition from the child mental health system to adult services.”
During the closed meeting, four recommendations previously presented to the Ontario government by the Youth Action Committee were also discussed in more detail. In its report Crisis to Quality, the Youth Action Committee recommends that the government increase funding to community child and youth mental health to:
- Raise the age of child and youth mental health services from 18 to 25
- Ensure effective treatment for youth with diverse backgrounds and identities
- Expand community-based mental health and addiction services for Indigenous youth
- Increase mobility to access services for rural, remote and northern youth
“Demand in Ontario for youth mental health services has skyrocketed and exceeds the resources and funding that has been made available to service providers,” said Caralyn Quan, Program Director of CMHO’s The New Mentality. “While the recently announced increase of $30 million towards child and youth mental health in the 2019 budget is welcome, more is needed to implement the recommendations provided in Nov. 2018 to Minister Elliott by the Youth Action Committee of The New Mentality.”
This is the second meeting between the Youth Action Committee and Minister Elliott. “We are pleased that Minister Elliott is continuing to engage with the Youth Action Committee and we are encouraged to hear from her that she is interested in establishing a more formal process of youth engagement about mental health. We feel we can contribute to improving the system, if included in more strategic discussions.”