Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario Division is calling out chronic underfunding and pandemic-related strain on the community-based mental health and addictions sector in its 2022 pre-budget submission to provincial government.
The pandemic has further highlighted the need to prioritize mental health and addictions funding for the community sector, which has demonstrated nimbleness and creativity while responding to unprecedented challenges. In its pre-budget submission, CMHA Ontario says this sector needs an infusion of funding to address historical inequities and give mental health appropriate parity with other health care sectors.
Noting that mental health and addictions services will be required more than ever post-pandemic, CMHA Ontario makes funding requests in four specific areas:
- Provide greater financial footing for CMHA branches across Ontario with an immediate base budget increase of 8 per cent ($24 million), a commitment to sustainable and ongoing funding, and repealing Bill 124. These measures can help to offset the historical underfunding of the community mental health and addictions sector and bolster providers who are facing greater demands for service brought on by the pandemic.
- Invest in the development of 3,000 supportive housing units, at an approximate cost of $242 million per year. Additionally, invest another $45 million per year for associated support services to help individuals with mental health or addictions issues live meaningful lives in their communities.
- Increase investments and provide an integrated response to the urgent and escalating drug poisoning crisis in Ontario.
- Invest $10 million for mobile crisis services and $7 million for safe bed programs to support mobile crisis teams. Investment can help to ensure mobile crisis response teams, both police- and non-police models, are available in every community.