It's Time to Act

May 1, 2017 – Ontario’s community addictions and mental health organizations are marking Mental Health Week 2017 by launching their “It’s Time to Act” campaign.
This year’s Mental Health Week runs May 1-7, 2017. 
“It’s Time to Act” calls on Ontario to prioritize mental health and addiction by taking steps towards establishing a comprehensive and accessible mental health system in our province.
Throughout Mental Health Week, the campaign will provide timely and relevant updates through social media posts, news stories and updates from the 220 member organizations of Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO). People can receive social media updates by following #time2act on Twitter and Facebook.
Mental health and addictions impact everyone
The campaign emphasizes that mental health and addiction problems affect every part of Ontario’s society – our families, our communities and our economy. Ontarians of every age, from children to seniors, are affected. Young people aged 15-to-24 are particularly vulnerable. Recent statistics report that 500,000 Canadians will miss work this week because of mental health or addiction problems.
“The government must recognize that mental illness and addiction have a broad impact on our communities,” said Andrea Abbott-Kokosin “Issues such as housing, employment, education, health care, and even our economic productivity are affected.”
Too many Ontarians cannot get help
It’s time to act. In Ontario, one-third of those with mental health and addiction problems cannot access the help they need.
Since 2008-2009, there’s been a 50 percent increase in hospitalizations of children and youth with mental health challenges. Over the past five years, repeat emergency room visits within 30 days for substance use have increased by 20 percent and for mental health by 9 percent.
“We see people with mental illness or addictions going through a ‘revolving door’ of emergency room visits,” explained Andrea Abbott-Kokosin “Additional capacity in the community sector will relieve pressure from hospitals while ensuring Ontarians get the help they need.”
Our organization is committed to working with the government to identify priority areas such as reducing waiting times, addressing addiction and mental illness among children and youth, and improving supportive housing.
“It’s Time to Act” calls on Ontarians to get involved my writing to their MPPs and expressing their support for the campaign objectives.
Progress made in 2017
Together we have already seen significant progress in 2017.
·       At the provincial level, Ontario announced in February it would invest $140 million over three years to expand supportive housing, psychotherapy and youth wellness hubs. 
·       At the federal level, a March announcement confirmed that Ontario will receive $1.9 billion over ten years in targeted investments for mental health as part of a 10-year health funding agreement.
These are encouraging steps forward and we hope the momentum will continue.
Canada still trails other countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and France. Those countries spend over 10 percent of their health care budgets providing mental health and addictions services and treatments. Ontario currently spends less than 7 percent.
Learn more
Learn more about It’s Time to Act by visiting www.addictionsandmentalhealthontario.ca