Ontario kids suffering mental illness must wait more than a year for treatment

“When it comes right down to it, we’re talking here about sick kids,” says NUPGE National President James Clancy. “How can we not do whatever we can to help them?" 

Ottawa (6 May 2015) — It’s already been well established that our health care system is failing those suffering mental illness, but a new report from Ontario provides a terrible reminder of just how inadequate the system is.

According to The Report Card on Child and Youth Mental Health by Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO), the thousands of young people in the province who need serious treatment face wait times of more than a year. “If Ontario continues to ignore the needs of children and families suffering from mental health issues, we will be in a crisis situation,” says Kim Moran, the CEO of CMHO.

Most mental illnesses emerge during adolescence

The report points out that nearly three-quarters of all mental-health issues emerge when a person is in her or his teens.

“We all know that in health care, early intervention and treatment is the most effective and inexpensive route,” says NUPGE National President James Clancy. “I'm sure you'd find similarly long wait times in provinces from coast to coast, and so this should serve as a wake-up call to our federal and provincial governments.”

$30 million investment would cut wait times substantially 

CMHO’s report says that with a $30 million investment, the Ontario government could immediately cut the wait-times by eight months, and also create a body to coordinate and improve the delivery of mental-health care across the province.

“When it comes right down to it, we’re talking here about sick kids,” says Clancy. “How can we not do whatever we can to help them?"


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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