TORONTO — The Ontario government is providing more than $1 million in additional annual funding specifically targeted at improving access to core and specialized mental health and addictions services for children and youth in Northwestern Ontario. This funding will help the region reduce waitlists and address the extensive wait times for services across the region, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This new child and youth mental health funding is part of the government’s commitment to invest $3.8 billion over 10 years to implement the Roadmap to Wellness, the government’s action-oriented plan to build a comprehensive, connected and fully integrated mental health and addictions system that works for Ontarians of all ages.
“Our government is building a modern, comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions system that works for all Ontarians,” said Associate Minister Tibollo. “This investment will help improve the mental health and addictions care provided to children and youth in Northwestern Ontario and will address the long-standing gaps in care and extensive wait lists that have existed for far too long.”
The government is making these much-needed investments to expand and enhance community-based mental health supports and services, including culturally appropriate services for Indigenous children and youth. Investments include:
- $200,900 in annualized funding for Firefly to support a range of core services offered including brief services, counselling and therapy and specialized consultation.
- $427,100 for community-based child, youth and family service agencies that provide core mental health and addictions services, including live-in treatment programs, as well as organizations that provide Indigenous core-like services.
- $320,600 for Children’s Centre Thunder Bay to enhance services to support and strengthen parent/child relationships and improve the mental health of children and youth in need.
- $61,600 to increase access to community-led services and expand the psychiatry program for children and youth at Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority.
These build on recent targeted investments focused on further enhancing critical supports including:
- $1.5 million to expand and enhance access to specialized mental health and addictions services in Northwestern Ontario through the Child and Adolescent Multidisciplinary Psychiatry Services (CHAMPS) Program, operated by the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, in partnership with the St. Joseph's Care Group. This funding is being used to hire six psychiatrists and will help develop a systemwide response to the complex mental health and addictions challenges in the region through a partnership with local community-based services, including culturally appropriate services for Indigenous children and youth.
- $1 million to grow the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Services (CAPS) program based in Thunder Bay, with satellite service locations across Northwestern Ontario. The CAPS program will compliment services through the Child and Adolescent Multidisciplinary Psychiatry Services (CHAMPS) Program.
“This investment is a continuation of our commitment to bring better services, shorter wait times and greater mental health and addictions supports to children and youth in Northwestern Ontario”, said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, Minister of Indigenous Affairs, MPP for Kenora-Rainy River. “All people in Ontario deserve equal access to mental health and addictions services and our government is ensuring rural and remote northern communities have the life-saving supports they need to keep children and youth safe."
- In February 2020, the ministry also announced $800,000 to Sioux Lookout First Nation Health Authority to support a team of specialized mental health professionals to provide care to First Nations youth in northwestern Ontario with acute mental health needs.
- Through the Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario has invested $525 million in annualized funding for mental health and addictions support since 2019-20. This includes an additional $175 million for more mental health and addictions services and supports this year, committed through the 2021 Budget. This builds on the $176 million invested in October 2020 and additional funding of $174 million invested in 2019-20.
- In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the province invested up to $194 million in one-time emergency funding for mental health and addictions services. Announced last year, this funding is helping Ontarians access the services they need during these difficult times. This includes high-quality virtual supports, which have been accessed by more than 82,000 Ontarians, including over 42,000 who have accessed online cognitive behavioural therapy.
- As of mid June, over 8,100 health care workers have access mental health and addictions supports virtually, including peer group discussions, training and education, iCBT and support from clinicians.
- Visit COVID-19: Support for People to find information about the many available, confidential and free mental health and addictions services and supports for Ontarians of all ages.