Ontario government injecting $8.5 in million for mental health and addiction funding in Durham


Published May 8, 2023 at 12:17 pm

The Ontario government is expanding inter-professional mental health primary care in Durham by providing more than $8.5 million to the region’s 45 family health teams, five nurse practitioner-led clinics, 22 community health centres, and Indigenous primary health care organizations to help people better connect with the care they need in their own communities.

The funding is from the Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care program, part of $425 million over three years for mental health and addictions service included in the 2023 provincial budget.

“As a government, we understand the critical role that accessible and effective mental health and addictions services play in the well-being of our community” said Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy, who is also the MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge. “By improving access to these essential services, we are building a healthier and more resilient community for all Ontarians.”

The new cash infusion will help the expansion of a pilot program through Carea Community Health Centre supporting newborns in families who do not have a regular family doctor. The funding will allow two new nurse practitioners for baby visits and immunizations to be hired, as well as a new Registered Nurse and an additional social worker to help provide counseling support to families with newborns.

Additional support from administrative staff will also be provided to help support and manage the expansion of the program.

“No one should ever suffer in silence, and by being open with others, we can help break down the stigma surrounding mental health.” said Whitby MPP Lorne Coe. “Our government is working hard to create a system where residents of all ages in Durham have access to timely and appropriate mental health and addictions supports, when and where they need them.”

The funding came as the Province marked Mental Health Week in Ontario May 1-7.

“By continuing to build on our Roadmap to Wellness, we are making it easier and faster for individuals and families to connect to mental health and addictions supports with additional investments and innovative new programs,” said Health Minister and Deputy Premier Sylvia Jones. “Providing Ontarians with the right care in the right place is a pillar of the Your Health plan.”

The Ontario government is also expanding the number of Youth Wellness Hubs by adding eight new hubs to the 14 that are already operating across the province.

Youth Wellness Hubs are filling gaps in care for youth substance use, concurrent disorders, and transition-aged youth by providing walk-in access to primary care and mental health and addictions services for people aged 12 to 25. These core clinical services are co-located within a range of other supports in the fields of education, employment, training, housing, and other community and social services.

“We launched the Roadmap to Wellness to improve mental health and addiction services and provide better, more equitable support for patients and families in communities all across Ontario,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “We know that reaching out for mental health and/or substance abuse support is not easy, and that is why we are working to ensure that help is always there, when and where it is needed.”

Roadmap to Wellness: A Plan to Build Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions was launched in 2020 with a ten-year commitment to invest $3.8 billion to add capacity to meet demand, fill gaps in the care continuum, and create a provincial infrastructure for a mental health and addictions continuum of care that connects primary, community and acute care to people with mental health and addictions issues.

The government is also introducing a new focus on mental health learning for students beginning in Grade 7 and continuing through high school with mandatory resources for teachers and students on mental health literacy in Grades 7 and 8.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce also announced an additional $12 million this year and $14 million next year to provide mental health services over the summer months. This funding will further students’ access to school-based mental health professionals and services year-round, with the aim of providing students consistent and reliable support, responding to a key recommendation of families and student trustees.

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