As the human and financial costs of mental illness and addiction continue to rise in Ontario, I am renewing my call for a dedicated Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions.
We’ve heard enough talk from this government about mental health and addictions, but it’s now time for action.
Government ministers tweeting selfies isn’t doing anything to address the terrible wait-times, the growing number of opioid deaths, jails overcrowded with people who should be in treatment, or the largely unseen crisis of violence against mental health workers.
Last month, the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) released a comprehensive report showing that reports of mental distress and suicidal thoughts are on the rise.
Another recent report, by Children’s Mental Health Ontario, estimates that parents who miss work because of their children’s anxiety is costing the province nearly half a billion dollars every year.
This is a crisis – we need leadership not more cheap sloganeering.
We have been joined by other leaders in calling for a dedicated mental health ministry, including the Official Opposition.
The Ford government should realize that its MPPs will suffer the consequences at the ballot box if they try to deal with the mental health and addictions file the same way they’ve dealt with social assistance, autism services, and health care.
Ontarians will be incredibly angry if Ford and his backroom try to turn mental illness and addictions into a profit opportunity for their rich friends in corporate boardrooms.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas