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CMHA puts a focus on addictions for Bell Let’s Talk

With Bell Let’s Talk Day this year focused on creating real change for mental health, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario is reminding Ontarians to include addictions in the conversation.

While the yearly conversation by Bell Let’s Talk has facilitated open and honest conversations about mental health issues, the stigma surrounding substance use and addictions remains. Stigma is one of the biggest barriers for people seeking and receiving treatment.

With the opioid epidemic alone claiming more than 3,600 lives in 2023, the importance of focusing on addictions issues across the province has become an urgent public health issue. The crisis highlights the need for a corresponding increase in supports and services for those at risk. CMHA Ontario supports full funding of harm reduction approaches so that individuals can seek the best option for reducing use.

“We need more low-barrier harm reduction services in this time, including more consumption treatment services sites which are currently capped in Ontario,” said Dr. Susan Farrell, CEO, CMHA Ottawa. “We look forward to the province finalizing its provincial review on this issue as several communities anxiously await these programs.”

In addition to the opioid crisis, there is greater access to other substances such as alcohol and cannabis, and more opportunities to gamble in Ontario.

“There is a strong link between addictions and mental health concerns,” said Dr. Farrell. “We encourage Ontarians to reach out for support if a behaviour or substance is disrupting their ability to maintain a healthy life.”

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