This year people across Ontario have an opportunity to push for lasting change on Bell Let’s Talk Day.
Sign the petition at www.erasethedifferece.ca and send a strong message to provincial election candidates that mental health and addictions care in Ontario should be funded the same as physical health care.
The petition is led by Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Ontario in collaboration with CMHA Cochrane-Timiskaming in the lead up to the June provincial election.
“Awareness campaigns such as Bell Let’s Talk Day are welcome and extremely valuable as they help break the stigma and reduce the discrimination associated with mental health and addictions,” said Clark MacFarlane, Executive Director of CMHA Cochrane-Timiskaming.
“But the fact remains that mental health and addictions services in Ontario remain chronically underfunded compared to other parts of the health system,” Mr. MacFarlane said. “Without regular and ongoing investment into the system, people coming forward to seek help can end up languishing while they wait for service.”
The burden of mental illness in Ontario is 1.5 times that of all cancers combined and more than seven times of all infectious diseases. i
Meanwhile, Ontario devotes $3.5 billion of a total $54-billion health budget to mental health and addictions. ii , iii The mental health and addictions share of the health budget is 6.5 per cent. In 1979, it was 11.3 per cent. iv
There are 30 CMHA branches throughout the province. Together with other local agencies, CMHAs belong to a community-based mental health and addictions sector that serves half a million Ontarians.
But many community-based agencies like ours have received little to no budget increases in as many as 10 years. Without ongoing investment, we often face challenges enhancing vital services such as case management, counselling and supportive housing.
- Currently, the average wait time to see a counsellor across Ontario is five months.
- One in five Ontarians experience a mental health problem or illness in any given year.
- 500,000 Canadians will miss work due to mental health issues in any given week
About the Canadian Mental Health Association Cochrane-Timiskaming Branch:
The Canadian Mental Health Association Cochrane Timiskaming (CMHA-CT) Branch envisions a community that embraces mental health as a key to well-being. CMHA-CT works to improve the lives of people living with, and touched by mental illness by providing the supports and services needed on their journey to happy and fulfilling lives. CMHA-CT strives to reduce stigma related to mental illness and to increase awareness of its programs and services by providing information and educational opportunities in our communities.
For more information, contact:
(705) 267-8100 ext. 2330