Vast Expansion Of Mental Health Services Announced

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott take part in a media availability with members of their cabinet ahead of meetings with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa on Thursday, March 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

TORONTO: The Ontario government is providing over $37 million to significantly expand mental health services across the justice system.

The funding will be used to expand mobile crisis teams across the province, hire additional staff, and support the creation of tailored programs for First Nations communities.

This is part of the government’s $176 million investment this year in the Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario’s plan to build a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions system…

Details were provided this week by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.

“Ontario’s police officers respond to tens of thousands of mental health calls a year and we need to make sure they have the right training, as well as extra support from professional mental health workers to respond to these calls, and save lives,” said Premier Ford.

“Our government is working collaboratively across all sectors to provide long-term stability to our mental health and addictions system, including our justice system,” said Minister Elliott.

The impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, including prolonged physical distancing, financial uncertainty, and being constantly inundated with new information about the virus, have caused many Ontarians to experience a range of mental health and addiction challenges.

As part of the $176 million investment, the province is providing mental health and justice services for individuals with mental health and addiction challenges, including help to reduce interactions with police.

This includes:
• Over $6.5 million for mobile crisis services. This funding will allow 33 communities across the province to expand or launch mobile crisis response services
• $5 million for safe bed programs\. This funding will enhance four existing programs while implementing seven new programs across Ontario, including two urban safe bed programs in Toronto and Ottawa;
• Over $14 million for supportive housing programs designated for justice-involved individuals. This will fund up to 524 new units across the province.

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