- August, 08 2018
- Kathleen Qu, M.Sc
Ontario’s newly elected Premier, Premier Doug Ford and his appointed team in Parliament have decided to scale back the previous Liberal Government’s promise of $2.1 billion in additional mental health services over four years.
Instead, $1.9 billion will be slowly filtered out over 10 years. Despite Ford’s government’s promise to match the $1.9 billion from federal funding for mental health, the scale back still cuts $335 million of funding for mental health per year, reducing a $525 million annual injection to merely $190 million.
Addictions and Mental Health Ontario already stated a need for at least $2.5 billion in new funding to mental health and addictions over the next four years to meet existing needs. Changes in funding can potentially put Ontario further behind in meeting the needs without being able to manage additional needs.
Furthermore with changes in the government, Local Health Integrated Networks (LHINS) and associate health service organizations are unsure about how they may go about addressing mental health issues.
Additionally, the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) recently rewarded two Vendors of Records, one on Mental Health Solutions and the other on Mental Health and Addictions, to a handful of select vendors, one of which was Mensante Corporation’s FeelingBetterNow®. After such an ambitious and rigorous process of assessing vendors and breaking down the access barrier for LHINs to purchase mental health solutions. The uncertainty of what will happen next can impact the initiatives of the LHINs in their efforts to address mental health problems in Ontario.
The Center for Addiction and Mental Health reports that the economic burden of mental health is about $51 billion a year: this includes health care costs, lost productivity, and long-term and short-term disability leaves, and health-related loss of quality of life. Furthermore, in Ontario, the cost of alcohol and substance-abuse related health care, law enforcement, productivity loss, and other related public costs has been estimated to be at least $5 billion.
Funding for mental health support and services is vital for not only meeting needs, but also providing sufficient services, promotion, and prevention for mental health and wellness.
Full Article Link: https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2018/07/26/tories-blasted-for-335m-cut-in-planned-spending-on-mental-health.html