Each year, 20% of Canadians experience mental health and addiction issues. According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, by age 40, at least 50% will have experienced a mental illness. Toronto represents approximately 10% of the country’s population and we need to address the urgent mental health and addictions crises in our streets.
Support the call to action
The federal government meet the MHCC target of 9% of health spending and 2% of social spending nationally, as outlined by The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH), a group of 16 national organizations, including CMHA.
- The federal government invests $300M per year to address Toronto’s mental health and addictions crises, and scale up evidence-based mental health services including safe injection sites, stepped care, managed opioid programs, increasing access to psychotherapy and Housing First services for homeless people experiencing mental health and addiction challenges.
In Canada, more than 6.7 million people are living with a mental health problem or illness today, compared to 1.4 million with heart disease and 2.2 million living with diabetes (Mental Health Commission of Canada, 2010). The inadequate funding of mental health services has the direct and indirect cost to Canada’s economy which exceeds $50 billion per year. ER visits for intentional self harm are increasing and Toronto experienced a 290% increase in ER visits for opioid poisoning/overdoses and a 181% increase in opioid related deaths since 2013.
Now is the time for the federal government to commit to national mental health parity. Under-served populations living with mental health and addiction needs are in crisis and compounding Toronto’s affordable housing and shelter emergencies. An annual investment of $300 million in Toronto is urgently needed if we are going to turn the tide and begin the hard work of building healthier communities. Conditions today are costing lives and delay will only cost more, still.
We need more federal help to fund mental health and addiction services and capital investments in supportive housing. This can happen if the federal government commits to meeting the spending targets set by the Mental Health Commission of Canada in 2012. Too many are unable to access life-saving resources they need to thrive, while growing mental health and addictions crises are having massive health impacts. We cannot wait any longer.
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Photo: Standing with mental health advocates, service providers and students in call to federal parties to commit to mental health parity and address Toronto's mental health and addictions crises.