TORONTO – Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, released the following statement to acknowledge Mental Health Week:
“During this unprecedented time in Ontario, many people are facing great challenges as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. During Mental Health Week this year, we are dedicated to raising awareness around an issue that affects over one million Ontarians each year.
Our government recognizes many Ontarians are experiencing increased anxiety because of COVID-19 and are worried about their health, the health of their family and friends, and the future of their livelihoods and are feeling anxious in physical isolation. We want to help those who need support and have taken immediate action to ensure everyone can access the high-quality care they expect and deserve.
Recently, our government announced up to $12 million in emergency funding to immediately expand online and virtual mental health supports. This brings additional access to care for people across the province and specific services to our frontline heroes.
We know maintaining physical distancing can be stressful for many people across the province. Just as it is critical that Ontarians heed the advice of our public health experts to stay at home and maintain safe physical distancing, it is critical that we continue providing everyone with the supports they need to stay both physically and mentally healthy. Ontario’s community mental health and addictions sector is working hard every single day to continue delivering services to people in need. We thank them all for their efforts and we will continue working collaboratively with them to identify further opportunities for investments to ensure all Ontarians have access to supports.
This week also marks Maternal Mental Health Week and Children’s Mental Health Week, which coincides with National Child and Youth Mental Health Day on May 7. The mental health of all children and youth in Ontario is of great importance. That is why we have recently expanded programs, such as BounceBack, and have provided emergency funding to Kids Help Phone, to further support children and youth who are struggling with their mental health.
Ontario also launched a Roadmap to Wellness: A Plan to Build Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions System, which provides a clear path forward toward offering Ontarians easier access to standardized, high-quality care and supports in communities across the province. As we implement this plan, we will continue listening and collaborating with our partners to ensure it works for all Ontarians.
We are committed to creating an Ontario where everyone is fully supported in their journey toward mental wellness. While you are staying home, we urge you to stay in touch with each other, and to reach out for help when you need it and to those who may be struggling. Even if we cannot be close physically, we are all in this together.”