(OTTAWA, 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 addictions 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 addictions 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.
“We need critical infrastructure investments to maintain the highest quality of care for the individuals we serve,” said Dr. Tim Simboli, Executive Director at CMHA Ottawa. “But decades of underfunding and the increased need for service are having devastating impacts on how we can best support people in need.”
To meet the current and growing demand for community mental health and addictions services, each CMHA branch needs at least an eight per cent increase in base funding as an immediate emergency stabilization investment.
For all CMHAs across the province, an eight per cent increase is under $30 million. For the entire community mental health and addictions sector, this comes to $125 million.
A base budget increase will help CMHAs and other community-based providers address operating costs that increase annually, deliver more services, and reduce wait times while managing high rates of stress, burnout, recruitment and retention among staff.
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.
“CMHAs reorganize resources and redeploy staff, but struggle to meet increased demand in service with our current budget allocations,” said Dr. Simboli. “We simply can’t do more, or provide even the same level of service, when we aren’t resourced properly.”
- 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 per cent was allocated to community-based mental health and addictions care.
About the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ottawa Branch (CMHA Ottawa)
The Canadian Mental Health Association, Ottawa Branch (CMHA Ottawa), is an independent, community-based non-profit organization that provides services for eligible individuals in the Ottawa area with severe and persistent mental illness and/or substance use disorder, many of whom are experiencing chronic homelessness or are vulnerably housed. CMHA Ottawa is dedicated to promoting good mental health, developing and implementing sustainable support systems and services, and encouraging public action to strengthen community mental health services and related policies and legislation.
For media inquiries:
Patrick Jodoin, Manager, Communications and Stakeholder Relations, CMHA Ottawa
613-737-7791 ext. 135