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More mental health beds and programs for seniors

The Ontario government is providing over $12 million to add new mental health beds in hospitals and to expand programs that support the mental health and well-being of seniors across the province.

This funding is part of the government’s mental health and addictions plan Roadmap to Wellness. This plan is delivering high-quality care and building a modern, connected and comprehensive system to support those dealing with mental health and addictions issues.

“Now more than ever, it is critical that Ontarians have access to effective mental health and addictions services when and where they need them,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said. “We’re continuing to work with our partners to close gaps in care, expand services that support our most vulnerable populations and provide better more connected care in our mental health system.”

The government is providing $10.9 million this year to create an additional 46 in-patient mental health beds in 16 hospitals across the province.

These beds will support patients experiencing mental health challenges, including those who are experiencing a mental health crisis that require treatment and care that is more appropriately provided in a hospital setting. These new beds build on the 52 additional in-patient mental health beds that the province created in 2019 to address critical gaps in Ontario’s mental health and addictions system and provide more people and families with high-quality mental health care closer to home.

“Ontarians in every corner of the province have felt the impacts of COVID-19. Increased periods of social isolation, coupled with the uncertainty of the future, have created added pressures, which can be difficult for people to handle,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “We will not waiver in our commitment to ensuring every person has access to the highest-quality mental health and addictions care that meet their unique needs.

“This investment brings us one step closer to our goal of creating a comprehensive, connected and integrated system, where everyone is fully supported in their journey towards mental wellness.”

The province is providing several additional investments to ensure Ontarians have the mental health and addictions care they need, including:

  • $1.1 million to support the operations of the Baycrest Hospital Behavioural Neurology Unit, which provides 20 in-patient mental health beds for individuals diagnosed with dementia and who have exhibited significant behavioural symptoms. This program also includes supports for families and caregivers, in addition to facilitating a patient’s smooth transition from the hospital back into their community.
  • Up to $164,000 in additional funding to support the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s (CAMH) Wellbeing in Later-Life education and awareness program for seniors. This program will provide training for health care and support staff working within retirement homes and long-term care homes to increase their understanding and awareness of the mental health challenges and unique needs of older adults for whom they care. This program will also integrate anti-racism, anti-oppression and inclusive principles into the facilitator training and workshop materials to ensure a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment.
  • Enhanced support to the Seniors Safety Line with an additional investment of up to $130,000 to hire and train more operators to address the higher call volumes generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Up to $194 million in additional emergency mental health and addictions funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has expanded existing services and created new services, such as virtual tools and counselling.

“Ontario is committed to supporting the mental health and well-being of all seniors in the province, especially as they isolate to protect themselves from the pandemic,” said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. “These important investments will help older Ontarians access services that meet their needs and provide more support for seniors seeking assistance during the COVID-19 outbreak.”

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