Ontario’s CMHAs call for significant funding increase to community mental health and addictions this Bell Let’s Talk Day
Jan. 25, 2023 – Canadian Mental Health Associations (CMHAs) across Ontario are calling on the province for a substantial, immediate and ongoing base funding increase for the community mental health and addiction sector on this Bell Let’s Talk Day.
This year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day is focused on committing to significant action to create positive change in mental health and addiction care. For Ontario’s CMHAs, a base budget increase from government is the meaningful action required right now to improve the community mental health and addictions sector.
“An increase in base budget would make a significant difference in addressing operating costs that increase annually,” said Beth Mitchell, co-CEO, CMHA Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services, “Without increases, we can expect longer wait times for clients, services to be less accessible, and valuable staff to leave due to stress and burnout or higher paying jobs in healthcare.”
To meet the current and growing demand for community mental health and addiction services, each CMHA branch needs at least an eight per cent increase in base funding as an immediate emergency stabilization investment.
“We continue to reorganize resources and redeploy staff, but are strained trying to meet increased demand in service with our current budget allocations,” said Linda Sibley, co-CEO, CMHA Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services, “The benefits of investing in early intervention and community-based care providers is very cost-effective and has a better return-on-investment when considering the cost of emergency department visits and hospitalization for mental health and/or addiction issues.”
For all CMHAs across the province, an eight per cent increase is under $30 million. For the entire community mental health and addiction sector, this comes to $125 million.
Without a base budget increase to help shore up operations and cover operating costs that increase annually, CMHAs will have to keep making tough decisions on how to retain staff who are often underpaid, burned out and stressed while also providing much-needed services to the community.
- CMHA Thames Valley served 15,942 clients in 2022.
- CMHA Thames Valley employs approximately 650 people, including 455 full-time roles and almost 200 part-time and relief roles.
- 48,861 calls were received by our three supportive listening programs (Reach Out, Support Line, and Friendly Callers).
- 66 per cent of resignations at CMHA Ontario branches over the last two years have been salary-based.
- 1 in 4 Ontarians have sought mental health support during the pandemic.
- Ontario’s 2020-21 health budget was $59.8 billion. Of that, $1.56 billion or less than three percent was allocated to community-based mental health and addiction care.
About CMHA Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services
CMHA Thames Valley Addiction and Mental Health Services is an integrated mental health and addiction agency providing community-based supports and services to individuals aged 12 and up across Elgin, Middlesex, and Oxford Counties. The continuum of services includes crisis intervention and virtual supports, mobile crisis teams, police partnerships, case management, counseling, community wellness programs for both individuals and their families, housing supports and addiction medicine services.
For more information, please visit www.cmhatv.ca