May 12th, 2022
May 12th, 2022
PARIS — With Andrea Horwath and the NDP, people will be able to make a counselling or therapy appointment at no cost, saving about $200 a visit — at a time when more and more people could use some mental health support.
“Mental health care is health care, and you should not have to pay $200 every time you need it,” said Horwath. “We’re going to fix it. With my plan, you’re going to be able to see a counsellor or therapist when you need to, with no cost. Just like going to your family doctor.
“Coming out of the pandemic, I hear from a lot of parents who say they see a personality change in their little ones. And isolation, loss, grief or financial stress has hit so many of us. We all should have access to mental health support — no matter the size of your wallet.”
With Horwath’s Universal Mental Health Care plan, counselling and therapy will be covered by an OHIP card, not a credit card, and publicly funded mental health services will be expanded and more accessible. The NDP’s comprehensive plan includes a suite of investments and changes to give the mental health and addictions sector more staff, resources and coordination, including the creation of Mental Health Ontario.
For Grade 9 student Mya MacLeod, that would make a big difference. “We want access to trusted adults to talk to. That can help us cope and give us strategies to thrive. Sometimes we need that help right now. Hearing Andrea’s strong commitment to our mental wellness today gives me hope.”
The NDP plan includes:
At least one in four Ontarians sought mental health or addictions help during the pandemic. Counselling is the service most commonly needed. Psychotherapists, psychologists, nurses and social workers can offer therapy, but unless they are part of a family health team it’s not covered by OHIP.
Brandon Westbrook, Brantford
"My mental health journey has been a long and hard fight. Constant battles not just for support, but to even feel like I’m worth supporting. Even something as simple as a short written statement, seems like a herculean task at times. The way our mental health services are set up now, make it near impossible for the average Ontarian to get the support we direly need. People shouldn’t have to be on the razor's edge of collapse, just to have access to that care. That’s why I support Andrea Horwath and the Ontario NDP’s plan to incorporate mental health services into OHIP, and make it easier to get that care."
Mya MacLeod, Paris, 15 years old in Grade 9
“Being a student during the pandemic was hard. We were disconnected during online learning and didn’t have a lot of extra help when we got back to the classroom. Mental health is one of our biggest problems.
It shouldn’t be this hard. Doug Ford’s cuts hurt. His broken systems don’t work for me, and they don’t work for my friends.
That’s why I was so excited to hear that Andrea Horwath was coming to Paris today to make commitments to children’s mental health. We want access to trusted adults to talk to. That can help us cope and give us strategies to thrive. Sometimes we need that help right now. Hearing Andrea’s strong commitment to our mental wellness today gives me hope.”
Inge MacLeod, Paris, elementary school teacher and mom of Mya
“Mental health is directly related to our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. Working in public education, I’ve seen mental health problems arise at a young age and if left untreated can snowball over time. This leads to more difficulties later on in life.
When folks in Ontario reach out for help with their mental health, they need to know that the right supports will be available to them without delay.
Many families, especially low income households, face barriers to traditional mental health services in a clinical setting. These barriers often include cost and transportation issues.
Right now, in Ontario we have long wait times, high out-of-pocket costs, and shortages of health care professionals. Doug Ford’s Conservatives made massive cuts in planned mental health spending and allowed the wait list for child and youth mental health services to double.
The NDP and Andrea Horwath’s commitment to reduce the wait list for children’s mental health means that treatment and specialized services for families will be more readily available. Currently, students in crisis are sent to hospital emergencies. A 24-hour crisis support service would ensure children and youth experiencing a crisis have an appropriate alternative.
Universal, publicly funded mental health care would expand access to counselling and therapy services across the province by bringing therapy services into OHIP. We need organizations that will take the lead in identifying and publicly reporting on mental health needs, developing a comprehensive wait list for services, and making sure that mental health programs are delivered equitably across the province.”
Paul Dinola, Brantford, father of Aaron Dinola
“On Nov. 6, 2021, my son passed away. The initiative of the NDP with regards to mental health and addictions will go a long way in seeing that hopefully this will not happen again, as many are
falling through the cracks.
It is my wish to see that this does not happen to anyone else as families are suffering. Our children will ultimately suffer if we don't rectify this issue.
As I've said before change is going to come, because together we are stronger. With the help of the NDP hopefully this will start a new conversation with regards to our mental health and addiction crisis.”
Universal Mental Health Care
Andrea Horwath and the NDP will start by expanding access to counselling and therapy services across the province:
Fixing the mental health system
Reducing the wait-list for children’s mental health to 30 days
Strengthening the sector
Improving Crisis Response