January 21, 2013

Statement to the Legislature

The Honourable Teresa Piruzza
Minister of Children and Youth Services

Moving on Mental Health System Transformation

The Ontario government is committed to making Ontario’s community-based child and youth mental health system the very best.

As part of Ontario’s Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, launched in 2011, our government has been working hard to improve the child and youth mental health system.

Already, more than 35,000 children, youth and their families are benefitting from improved services and reduced wait lists for assessment and treatment thanks to the collective efforts of community partners, frontline workers, clinicians, educators, medical service providers and parents.

With more than 770 new mental health workers already in place, a youth suicide prevention plan to better respond to young people in crisis and initiatives to better support young people in northern, rural and Aboriginal communities, we are making a difference each and every day.

As we enter a new year, we are now focused on improving the often frustrating service experiences of young people and their families as they move through the mental health system.

Through our Moving on Mental Health plan, we are committed to strengthening the community-based child and youth mental health system of services. This is central to delivering services that are accessible, responsive and grounded in the experiences of children and youth who need support and treatment.

To that end, we are starting the process of selecting local lead agencies for 16 of 34 geographic service areas.

These local lead agencies will collaborate with other community agencies to deliver the right mental health services to young people when they need them, as close to home as possible.

Our plan will deliver a coordinated, responsive system that makes sense, that’s easy to navigate, that enables fast answers and clear pathways to services. More importantly, it will deliver the right help early that each child and youth needs and deserves.

As we continue to work collectively across all sectors to respond to those struggling with mental health challenges, we will continue to be guided by their real life experiences and by the ongoing concrete advice and suggestions of all our partners.

We will have achieved our goal when a youth or a parent knows who to call, tells their story only once, learns what supports are available, and gets the help they need right away.

Together, we can - and we will - help all young people enjoy the bright futures they deserve.