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On National Child and Youth Mental Health Day, OPSEU calls for new funding for frontline mental health workers and services

Group of five children arm-in-arm smiling into the camera.

Today is National Child and Youth Mental Health Day and it comes on the heels of some sobering news about the state of mental health for our kids.

Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CHMO), which represents the province’s publicly-funded mental health centres for children and youth, recently reported the province loses almost half a billion dollars each year in productivity due to parents missing work because of their children’s anxiety.

Another recent study, the huge Ontario Child Health Study, looked at nearly 11,000 kids and found that one in five have a mental health disorder and there is a great demand for mental health services – but there aren’t enough to meet that demand.

The Ford government has tooted its own horn, bragging that in its spring budget it is investing 174 million dollars in mental health and addictions services with 30 million of that earmarked for children’s mental health.

What the Ford government failed to mention is that the 174 million is actually federal funding and is an amount that frontline mental health workers say is far short of what’s needed to help children get the services they need.

CHMO says 70 per cent of mental illnesses in adults start in childhood. Investing in children and youth mental health is not just an investment that will help children now, it’s an investment that will help the adults of tomorrow.

In solidarity,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, First Vice-President/Treasurer