Ontario Liberals will transform mental health response

Training more than 3,000 new frontline mental health workers to help clear waitlists

SCARBOROUGH – Steven Del Duca was at Strides Toronto to announce that an Ontario Liberal government will transform mental health frontline response so more people living with mental illnesses, addictions, and disabilities can access compassionate care instead of languishing on waitlists.

“Ontarians are resilient, but people are hurting right now. The Conservative plan is always to slice and dice public health care services, opening the door to private companies looking to make a quick buck,” said Del Duca. “Right now, there’s a major gap between wanting mental health help and finding it.”

Ontario Liberals will transform mental health services through a $3 billion increase in funding for mental health and addictions services, helping clear a dangerous backlog for support. This investment will help train more than 3,000 new mental health and addictions workers, 1,000 of which will be dedicated to working with at-risk youth.

“Ontario has to be a province where people care for one another, and where anyone experiencing a mental health crisis gets the help they need to weather the storm,” said Del Duca. “Sadly, the Conservatives are leaving our neighbours with a mental illness to struggle on their own. That is not the choice Ontario Liberals would make. We will transform mental health frontline response to get care for anyone in crisis.” 

Ontario Liberals will also make sure that more mental health workers are ready to respond to low-risk emergency calls, transforming the way our province helps people in crisis by staffing emergency rooms and the 9-1-1 hotline with mental health workers trained to help people in a mental health crisis.

As part of our plan for mental health, Ontario Liberals will:

  • Have mental health professionals in emergency rooms and ready to respond to emergency calls;
  • Train 3,000 new mental health and addictions professionals, including 1,000 mental health professionals for children;
  • Ensure no child waits for critical mental health help;
  • Reverse the Ford Conservatives’ cuts to mental health and addiction services, investing an additional $3 billion;
  • Provide free ‘mental health first aid’ and guided online supports;
  • Guarantee access to mental health services for all health professionals;
  • Require private employer benefits include mental health services;
  • Build 15,000 more supportive homes for mental health and addictions;
  • Make mental health first aid training available to school staff;
  • Fund women’s health needs such as postpartum mental health, abortion and reproductive services – including covering one cycle of egg freezing;
  • Invest in Indigenous-led mental health supports and long-term care;
  • Divert people with addictions, disabilities and mental health conditions away from the justice system and to appropriate supports;
  • Ensure police training includes deescalation, anti-racism, cultural sensitivity and mental health ;
  • Redeveloping Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, SickKids, Sunnybrook and St. Joseph’s Health Centre; and
  • Expanding Peterborough Regional Health Centre’s mental health and cancer services.

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