Mental Health Week: It’s Time to Act
Addiction and Mental Health Services, KFLA (AMHS-KFLA) joins with similar organizations across Ontario for Mental Health Week, May 1-7. Using the slogan “It’s Time to Act,” we call on Ontario to prioritize mental health and addiction recovery by supporting those working to create an accessible and comprehensive mental health care system.
Across Ontario, one-third of those with mental health and addiction problems cannot access the help they need. Since 2009, there has been a 50% increase in hospitalizations of youth with mental health problems, while repeat emergency room visits within 30 days for mental illness and addiction and have increased by 9 and 20% respectively. “We see people with mental illness or addiction go through a revolving door of ER visits,” says AMHS-KFLA CEO, Don Seymour. “There’s more to our health system than hospitals. Robust, community-based addiction and mental health services reduce the need for hospital-based care.”
AMHS-KFLA provides addiction and mental health services to more than 4000 individuals in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington. We are committed to working with partners and the government to identify priority areas such as reducing wait times, addressing addiction and mental illness among youth, and improving supportive housing. While we have seen significant progress in 2017, such as a provincial commitment of $140 million over three years and a federal commitment of $1.9 billion over ten years for mental health programs in Ontario, last week’s provincial budget announcement failed to address the urgent operational challenges facing community mental health and addiction service providers in the province. Community mental health and addiction agencies in Ontario have not received a base budget funding increase for more than 5 years, while demand for services and costs for staffing and overhead are all on the rise. Says Seymour, “No base funding increase for community-based addiction and mental health organizations could result in untimely cuts to desperately needed services.” It’s time to act.
Throughout Mental Health Week, the “It’s Time to Act” campaign will provide timely and relevant updates through social media from AMHS-KFLA and 220 other member organizations of Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO). Look for the hashtag #time2act and follow AMHS-KFLA on Facebook and Twitter.