As part of the 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario plan, the Ontario government is investing $8.1 million this year to immediately address the increased demand for services to support specialized care for children and youth diagnosed with eating disorders. This new investment builds on an additional $11.1 million in annualized funding for eating disorder services through Roadmap to Wellness to help protect Ontario’s progress by increasing access to mental health and eating disorder services and supports across the province.
“Today’s announcement is another step forward in our plan to make it easier for all Ontarians to access the right level of care to meet their needs and feel supported on their journey to wellness,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Through these investments, our government is expanding access to care so that more children and youth with eating disorders can receive specialized treatment, bringing hope and peace of mind to families.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially challenging for children and youth, and health care providers have seen a surge in need for eating disorders services. The government is providing $8.1 million to support eating disorder services at the Hospital for Sick Children, McMaster Children’s Hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and the Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre.
This funding will support 14 additional inpatient surge beds as well as 10 additional day treatment spaces to help patients with eating disorders more successfully transition from inpatient care to community care, ensuring that children and youth receive high-quality care in the right settings.
“In a year unlike any other, we’ve seen an increased demand for high-quality mental health and addictions care that addresses the unique needs of vulnerable populations across Ontario,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “This investment will help to protect our progress in our fight against COVID-19 by ensuring our children, youth, and families in every corner of the province have better access to the immediate, life-saving services they need, when and where they need them.”
As a part of this investment, CHEO is receiving over $4.4 million to increase inpatient capacity as well as added treatment services to support children and youth requiring mental health and eating disorder services. This funding will enable CHEO to address the increase in admissions since March 2020 and provide high-quality care and specialized supports for more than double the number of children and youth it sees today.
“The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario is a vital institution for our province, and this critical investment will protect our progress on key mental health and addictions supports at a time when help is most needed,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “Building an Ontario where young people are safe, healthy and thriving, right here at home is part of our plan to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In addition to this new investment, the government is also providing $11.1 million in funding through the Roadmap to Wellness to support a wide range of specialized eating disorder services for children, youth, and adults, across the continuum of care. Services include:
- $10.5 million to support specialized, intensive inpatient and day treatment services to fill major gaps in care for people with severe needs and for specialized outpatient services for people with moderate to severe needs in areas where there are long waitlists or no services available.
- $600,000 for the development and implementation of an early intervention program for eating disorders that meets the diverse needs of children, youth and young adults.