The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), along with six other organizations, is sounding the alarm about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health with a new campaign that calls on all levels of government to take immediate action.
The campaign, titled “Everything Is Not OK,” urges authorities to improve access to services and reduce wait times for those who need urgent care.
The organizations involved in the campaign are Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO), Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario (CMHA), Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO), Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores), The Royal, and Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care.
“Too many Ontarians are waiting too long for access to mental health and addiction care. It was a crisis before COVID-19. The pandemic has made it even worse,” the group says in a release.
They add the mental health crisis in Ontario is reaching a “breaking point.” According to a survey by Children’s Mental Health Ontario, almost 75 per cent of the province’s population is facing increased substance abuse and mental health challenges during the pandemic.
The group is jointly calling for a mental health and addiction system that provides consistent, high quality care, faster and easier access to supports and more transparency in the system when it comes to wait times and what to expect from the care provided.
“We have collaborated on a unanimous call to action to address inequities in access to mental health care and supports for all Ontario citizens, regardless of age, geography, ability to pay or level of support required,” said Catherine Zahn, CAMH President and CEO, in a release.
Together, the group supports more than one million children, youth and adults with their mental health or substance use challenges every year.