As Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Lambton Kent focuses on empathy for Mental Health Week this week, the fact that many Ontarians are weary and struggling is at the forefront. Polling conducted throughout the pandemic indicates that nearly 80 percent of Ontarians believe we will be in a serious mental health crisis when the pandemic is over. That’s why CMHA is calling on candidates and volunteers hitting the campaign trail in Ontario this week to address the urgent need for a substantial, immediate and ongoing increase in infrastructure funding for the community mental health and addictions sector.
CMHA branches, alongside other dedicated service providers in the community mental health and addictions sector, have been historically underfunded. While governments have provided funding for mental health and addictions care, the funding is never for infrastructure like salary, inflation or facility maintenance. Rather, funding is nearly always time-limited and specific to delivery of one program or service, meaning agencies have no flexibility in how to use the investment.
Without a substantial base funding increase, wait times will only grow longer and services will be less available. CMHA branches will continue to lose talented front-line staff to high rates of stress and burnout and better-paying jobs elsewhere in the health sector. Each CMHA branch needs at least an eight percent increase in its infrastructure funding. An immediate increase in base budget will help CMHAs and other community-based providers address operating costs that increase annually, deliver more services, and reduce wait times while tackling high rates of stress and burnout amongst frontline staff.
“Most CMHA branches have not seen a base funding increase in the past 5-10 years, straining their ability to meet the increasing demand for their programs and services,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO, CMHA Ontario. “We will continue to advocate for additional funding to support our clients, those in need of service and the people providing care.”
CMHA Ontario urges the public to vote for the party that will invest significantly in the community’s mental health and addictions system.
For more information about the “I choose” campaign, visit www.ichoosemha.ca or follow #ichoosemha on social media.