Expanding mental heath services for children, youth

The province is providing $24.3 million in targeted investments to hire additional staff, increase access to counselling and therapy, create new programs to help manage stress, depression and anxiety, and address eating disorders and other challenges facing children and youth.
This funding is part of the government’s $176 million investment in the Roadmap to Wellness, a plan to build a fully connected mental health and addictions system across the province.

“I know this has been a challenging period for many of our kids and young people, but by making these targeted investments our government is making it easier for them to access the mental health and addictions services they need,” Premier Doug Ford said. “I want to make sure there is always someone there ready to listen and provide expert help. We need to support and help each other in order to get through this pandemic and start us down the road to recovery together.”

The government is making targeted investments in community-based mental health supports and services for children and youth with a focus on evidence-based and innovative programs including:

  • $11 million for over 80 children and youth mental health service providers to enhance capacity and access to critical frontline child and youth mental health services, including:
    • Hiring additional staff;
    • Purchasing and developing additional resources to increase access to services such as counselling and therapy, intensive and crisis services; and
    • Supports for families and caregivers of children and youth with mental health and addictions challenges.
  • $5.8 million for youth wellness teams at 10 Youth Wellness Hubs across Ontario. These youth-friendly service locations are designed for youth, and offer walk-in access to primary care and mental health and addictions services for people between the ages of 12 and 25;
  • $3.7 million for a new eating disorders program. This early intervention program will help prevent and support children and youth up to the age of 25 that may be struggling with an eating disorder. There will be four pilot sites to start, with plans to expand the program across the province;
  • $2 million for the implementation of an Ontario Structured Psychotherapy Program for families, children and youth. This new program will provide evidence-based mental health supports for children, youth and their families that will help them develop skills to manage stress, depression and anxiety in a healthy way;
  • $1 million for child and youth mental health services delivered in congregate settings. This funding will help provide care that will better meet their needs; and
  • $800,000 to support the creation and operation of Eating Disorders Ontario, which will help with quality improvement across the whole eating disorders sector.

“Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have seen thousands of individuals and families reach out for help and we know that many continue to face mental health and addiction challenges today,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “By significantly expanding access to mental health and addictions supports for our children and youth, we are taking another step towards building a mental health and addictions system for the future, where people and families across Ontario are fully supported in their journey towards mental wellness.”

To find the right supports, visit COVID-19: Support for People to get information about the many available and free mental health services and supports.

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