World Mental Health Day statement from Ontario NDP Mental Health and Addictions Critic Bhutila Karpoche:
“Today, on World Mental Health Day, communities around the world come together to raise awareness about the challenges faced by those living with mental health issues.
Ontario children struggle with the highest rates of mental-health related emergency room visits and hospitalizations in the country. Last year alone, there were 12,000 children waiting up to 18 months to access mental health services in Ontario.
It’s time to de-stigmatize. It’s time to say that mental health care is health care, and no one in need should go without. And it’s time to invest. Although public awareness of mental health issues has increased, today in Ontario, families are faced with a government that has cut over $300 million per year from mental health funding, and is promising deep cuts to the mental health, emergency medical, and addiction supports that Ontarians struggling with mental health challenges depend on to save their lives. This is going to make wait times longer, and leave Ontario emergency rooms and hospitals even more overcrowded.
Fair wages and benefits, dignified social supports, and affordable housing are part of the solution to the challenges we face in mental health. We can only achieve a healthy society by building a just society. New Democrats believe it’s time to invest in mental health services and supports — not cut them. Because no one in Ontario should be forced to go without the mental health care they need, and families deserve so much better.”