Ontario Children In Dire Need of Mental Health Supports

‘Kathleen Wynne lets down families counting on mental health supports for their children’ says NDP Children and Youth critic

QUEEN’S PARK, ON – In question period on Tuesday, Hamilton Mountain MPP, Monique Taylor, the NDP critic for Children and Youth, demanded that the Liberal government stop leaving children with  mental health needs languishing on waiting lists for service and do something to address the serious backlog of supports.

“A report released last week by Children’s Mental Health Ontario outlines the serious problems caused by waits of up to 18 months for mental health services for children and youth,” said Taylor. “Shannon Nagy told her mother at five years old that she wanted to die. In Grade 6 she missed the entire school year. Now 20, Shannon says her struggle to get help throughout her childhood did more harm than good.

“Kim Moran, now CEO of CMHO, had to take a four-month leave then work part-time when her 11 year old daughter tried to die by suicide while waiting on a year-long list for help.”

A survey commissioned by Children’s Mental Health Ontario revealed that one in four parents have missed work to care for their child’s anxiety. The survey uncovered long waitlists for children’s mental health supports — and discovered that even when families finally get help they often do not get the services they need.

Taylor said that long waitlists for mental health services didn’t happen overnight, and result from chronic underfunding by consecutive Liberal and Conservative governments, which force children to access hospital care as a last resort.

“Children’s Mental Health Ontario has been saying for years that underfunding of services is putting huge strains on our hospitals because these kids have nothing else and they reach crisis situations,” said Taylor. “Last week’s report shows the impact 18 month wait lists have, on education and the ability of families to continue to earn a living. The stress just mounts up and adds to an already very difficult situation.”

“When will this government act so that children with mental health problems get the help they need, when they need it?” asked Taylor.

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