The Time to Strengthen Care for Patients with a Mental Illness is Now: Ontario's Doctors

TORONTO, May 4 /CNW/ - It's Mental Health Week in Canada and Ontario's doctors are taking the opportunity to remind the government to support and care for those who are living with mental illnesses. A motion passed at the Ontario Medical Association's (OMA) Annual General Meeting last weekend reaffirmed the commitment of Ontario's doctors to advocate improvements to mental health care when the government releases its 10-Year Mental Health and Addictions Strategy.

Earlier this year, Ontario's doctors released a policy platform, "Better care. Healthier patients. A stronger Ontario." The platform contains a thoughtful and practical set of 41 policy recommendations, including several on mental health such as:

  • Moving all mental health services under the purview of one ministry;
  • Implementing a mental health strategy for teenagers and young adults to ensure there is a smooth transition to adult care; and
  • Ensuring all primary care physicians and psychiatrists should have access to, or option to, participate in a team based care model.

In the 2011 provincial budget the government announced it would be making investments into children's mental health, which was also a key recommendation made by Ontario's doctors.  The commitment to new investments was supported by Ontario's doctors.

In addition, the OMA Section on Psychiatry wrote a letter in February to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and called for the creation of wait time targets for mental illness treatment.


"Ontario's doctors believe there needs to be a renewed focus on improving mental health care in Ontario. We look forward to working with government to tackle this issue and ultimately improving treatment for our mental health patients."
Stewart Kennedy, MD, President of the Ontario Medical Association

"Wait times have decreased for several key procedures in Ontario. Mental illness should be no different. Ontario has an opportunity to be a leader in providing timely treatment to those living with a mental illness."
Desi Brownstone, MD, Chair, Section on Psychiatry  

Quick Facts

  • One in five Ontarians will experience a serious mental illness in their lifetime;
  • Utilization of health-care services is highest among those who have been diagnosed with a mental illness; and
  • Only one-third of those who need mental health services in Canada will actually receive them.

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association

For further information:

OMA Media Relations at (416) 340-2862 or toll-free at 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862

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