Schreiner: Ontario’s mental health crisis cannot be ignored

GUELPH, ON — Today, Mike Schreiner announced plans to make mental health a pillar of Ontario’s healthcare system with an historic $4.1 billion investment, more than any other party this election.

“Over the last four decades, there have been 17 government reports on how to address mental health and addictions, and yet successive NDP, Conservative and Liberal governments have failed to follow through. The time to act is now,” said the Green Party leader.

Guelph has seen a 50% increase in the number of emergency room admissions for mental health and addictions issues. A 2016 study showed that 95% of patients in mental distress who were admitted to Guelph General Hospital’s emergency room on a Saturday were still there on the Monday. Across Ontario, 12,000 children are on a mental health waiting list.

“Mental health is health and it should be treated as such. Our $4.1 billion dollar pledge is a down payment on making mental health covered under OHIP+,” said Schreiner.

Greens are also calling for the creation of Mental Health and Addictions Ontario, an umbrella organization to streamline the provision of services, and they want to see more people accessing services at the primary care level rather than waiting in hospitals in crisis.

“As Guelph’s MPP, I will be a champion for community based mental health services. People must receive the care they need in an affordable, accessible and timely way,” said Schreiner.

And the Greens don’t look at mental health in isolation. Greens also promise to introduce a basic income guarantee and additional funding for supportive housing for people in need.

“We need to ensure that no one falls through the cracks. We cannot ignore the social determinants of health and the role they play in our poverty and mental health crises,” he added.