May 7, 2015


The Honourable Tracy MacCharles
Minister of Children and Youth Services

Children’s Mental Health Week

I rise in the House today to recognize Children’s Mental Health Week.

The first week of May, is dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues and decreasing the stigma for children living with them.

I want to take this opportunity to stand and acknowledge the hard work, caring and understanding of those who love and care for children and youth with mental health challenges– their parents, siblings, other family members and friends.

I also would like to acknowledge the dedication and compassion of our mental health partners, including our mental health Lead Agencies, and Children’s Mental Health Ontario who are here right now.

Mr. Speaker, I ask that we in this House continue to engage in conversations on mental health issues in recognition of Child and Youth Mental Health Week.

Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed in life.

We are aware of the statistics. Approximately one in five young people in Ontario will deal with mental health issues in his or her life time. And 70 per cent of mental health and addiction problems begin in childhood and adolescence.

We also know that the sooner these young people receive the help and support they need, the more likely they are to participate in school, lead healthy lives and contribute to their communities.

That’s why our government and the lead agencies that are here with us today, are working hard to strengthen our community-based child and youth mental health system, so that parents and youth will know what mental health services are available in their communities and how to access them.

In 2011, we took action by introducing Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions Strategy. In the first three years of the Strategy my ministry, together with my colleagues from the Ministries Of Education, Health and Long-Term Care, and Training Colleges and Universities, made significant progress in providing faster access to quality services, identifying and intervening early and closing critical service gaps for children and youth.

Since the launch of the strategy the province has supported the hiring of 770 new mental health workers.

And Ontario’s new Tele-Mental Health Service is providing more than 2,800 psychiatric consults this year to benefit children and youth in rural, remote and underserved communities and we have surpassed this year’s targets on usage.

Overall, Mr. Speaker, more than 50,000 kids and their families are benefiting from quicker and easier access to the right mental health supports.

And I’m proud of our strategy’s record in its first three years, with its strong focus on developing healthy, young minds in our children and youth.

And although strategy is shifting its focus to transitioning youth and adults in phase two under the capable leadership of Minister Hoskins, our work for children and youth struggling with mental health issues, and our support for their families will not stop.

Through many of our initiatives, including the Moving on Mental Health Strategy we remain fully committed to helping young people reach their full potential in life.

Through Moving on Mental Health our goal is to make sure that all families across Ontario know:

This will help build a mental health system that is stronger and more accountable and responsive to the needs of children, youth and their families.

We need to keep talking openly about mental health – in our families, in our communities, and across the province – so we can help change the way society views mental health issues and those living with them.

And our government will continue taking action so these youth receive the support they need so they can enjoy the bright futures they deserve.