The provincial government is spending about $14 million to increase mental health and addictions services across Ontario.
At an announcement in Sudbury today, Premier Doug Ford says funding will be used to expand in-person and online mental health and addictions services. A portion of the funding is allocated for Indigenous communities.
Ford says the pandemic has been tough on people.
“If you need to talk to someone at anytime, please, and don’t hesitate, please reach out,” he said.
“We’re funding incredible organizations who are ready to help. Kid’s Help Phone, Good to Talk for post-secondary students, Bounce Back for adults and youth and so many more.”
Ontario government announces $14.75 million in funding toward mental health and addiction services. <a href=”https://twitter.com/CBCSudbury?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@cbcsudbury</a> <a href=”https://t.co/XOuAIZbAUt”>pic.twitter.com/XOuAIZbAUt</a>
‘It’ll be vital’
Northern community organizations have relied heavily on online services during COVID-19 to continue their programming, says Martin Boucher, the executive director with Northern Initiative for Social Action.
The funding, he said, will help organizations continue to connect with folks in need as the pandemic continues.
“It’ll be vital especially if a second wave comes,” Boucher said.
“Now that we’ve put the systems in place, it’s going to improve our services in general. I don’t think we’ll ever stop doing, at least some form of, virtual programming after this.”
When you work on the frontline you see the challenges and I think in the north when you go through some bad economic times, things can get worse.— Martin Boucher, Northern Initiative for Social Action
Boucher said the funding will help prevent community organizations from having to further cut services and will mainly go toward helping maintain existing programming.
Some of the money could go toward ensuring that personal protective equipment is available so that outreach programs can continue, for example.
“There’s a lot of need here,” Boucher said.
“And I think people say that wherever they’re from but when you work on the frontline you see the challenges and I think in the north when you go through some bad economic times, things can get worse.”
The funding breakdown includes:
- $7 million to safely expand in-person mental health and addictions services to bridge current gaps brought on by COVID-19, including community-based services, congregate living and supportive housing.
- $4.75 million to support culturally safe services for Indigenous communities, with a focus on children and youth.
- $3 million to expand virtual and online services including addictions supports, Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and an online peer support community for mental health.
The province also announced money for research projects involving COVID-19.
The $2.9 million will go to eight research projects that will focus on supporting the mental health and well-being of families and children, assessing the long-term health effects of COVID-19, the development of an app to better manage the care of patients, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of wearing masks to block the virus.
Ontario is increasing access to innovative <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/MentalHealth?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#MentalHealth</a> and addictions services by investing $14.75M to expand in-person, virtual & online services, including internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT). <a href=”https://t.co/QvMYxDKLGu”>https://t.co/QvMYxDKLGu</a> <a href=”https://t.co/qgOy82E0eN”>pic.twitter.com/qgOy82E0eN</a>