TORONTO, March 25 /CNW/ - Suicide is the leading cause of non-accidental death in Ontario's youths aged 10 to 19, claiming the lives of our young people more than any other health-related cause. Mental illness is the strongest risk factor for suicide yet these youths cannot get treatment because of years of government underfunding. And this budget does nothing to change that: it continues to ignore this epidemic and, by extension, sanctions the deaths of young Ontarians.
While Health Services continue to receive annual increases to their budgets, Children and Youth Mental Health continues to be ignored. More than 650,000 youths in Ontario currently suffer from at least one mental health disorder. But only 1 in 6 have access to or receive treatment. Worse, the number of children who are lucky enough to receive treatment is likely to now decrease due to Children's Mental Health services not receiving appropriate and needed funding in the budget.
"That only 1 in 6 children receive treatment now is intolerable and would not be accepted if so few children were treated for childhood diabetes or cancer," states Sarah Cannon, PCMH Executive Director. "That the situation will deteriorate due to no increase in funding is an abandonment of our children."
It is morally imperative, as well as economically wise, for our government to provide proper funding to Child and Youth Mental Health Services to ensure that these children in need become productive citizens. Education and other government priorities will not be successful if thousands of children and youth struggle with this invisible illness. Yet once again, the Ontario Government has shown a lack of vision and lack of commitment to the children and youth and continues to find other priorities over children's lives.
"Parents for Children's Mental Health feels this budget has once again ignored the severity of the situation that our children face, it shows neglect and abandonment of the children, youth, their families, and those who serve them, and as a consequence, we will see an increase in the number of child and youth lives lost to these debilitating illnesses. What makes this even more intolerable is the fact that our leaders know precisely the risks of such neglect, yet choose neglect anyway. They should be ashamed of themselves." says Ms. Cannon.
SOURCE PARENTS FOR CHILDREN'S MENTAL HEALTH
For further information: For further information: Sarah Cannon, Parents for Children's Mental Health, Executive Director, (905) 935-4266, firstname.lastname@example.org