Kathleen Wynne announces $2.1B in new mental health funding over four years

TheStar.com – News/Queen’s Park – The premier emphasized that no one in Ontario should struggle to access mental health or addictions care for themselves or their loved ones. Further details will be announced next week during the budget.
March 21, 2018.   By

Ontario’s Liberal government is promising $2.1 billion in additional mental health funding over the next four years.

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the pre-budget announcement Wednesday at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

The new money is over and above the $3.8 billion spent annually on mental health services.

It comes against the backdrop of a June 7 election that public opinion polls suggest will be challenging for the governing Liberals.

“We know there can be no health without mental health,” Wynne told a packed news conference also attended by Finance Minister Charles Sousa, Health Minister Helena Jaczek, Education Minister Indira Naidoo-Harris, and Community and Social Services and Children and Youth Services Minister Michael Coteau.

“No one in Ontario should struggle to access mental health or addictions care for themselves or their loved ones,” said the premier.

“We have a good system,” she said, emphasizing more can and must be done.

“We’re making the biggest single investment in mental health care in Canadian history.”

The new funding will mean every secondary school in the province will have access to additional mental health professionals with 400 positions created over the next two years.

Next year, 12,000 more young people will have community-based therapy and counselling, jumping to 46,000 by 2021-22.

There will also be as many as 15 new “youth wellness hubs” over the next four years to help those aged 12 to 25.

As well, up to 350,000 more people suffering from anxiety or depression will have access to additional information therapy.

Further details will be disclosed next Wednesday in Sousa’s budget, which will serve as the template for the Liberals’ campaign platform.

The issue will almost certainly be front and centre during the coming election with NDP Leader Andrea Horwath promising a standalone ministry of mental health.

Under former leader Patrick Brown, the Progressive Conservatives had promised $1.9 billion in new mental health funding over the next decade.

But new Tory Leader Doug Ford has tossed out Brown’s People’s Guarantee platform so it’s unclear what a PC government would do if elected in June.

Ford has pledged as much as $5.6 billion in cuts to the provincial budget.

https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2018/03/21/kathleen-wynne-announces-21b-in-new-mental-health-funding-over-four-years.html

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