Province investing in expanded Mental Health Services for Ontarians


It's been a month of announcements of new mental health & addiction services & expansions for Ontarians.  Initiatives respond to the recommendations of the Mental Health & Addictions Leadership Council 2016 Report, Moving Forward  and serve to move forward on the commitments of the government’s plan, Open Minds, Healthy Minds: Ontario's Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, to promote positive mental health and well-being for Ontarians, to prevent mental illness, and to promote recovery. 

A January 25, 2017 government update was released to share initiatives undertaken to deliver to the goals of the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy. View Update.

On February 8, 2016, Health Minister Eric Hoskins announced funding of new initiatives including;

  • More access to therapy for people living with conditions like anxiety and depression learn strategies to improve their mental health and be more successful in their daily lives. Ontario is working to develop a provincial structured psychotherapy program, while also supporting the expansion of structured psychotherapy offered through existing partners. Structured psychotherapy offers evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, to people online or in-person through individual or group sessions.
  • Up to nine hubs where young people aged 12 to 25 can receive walk-in, one-stop access to mental health and addictions services, as well as other health, social and employment supports under one roof. Funding will help expand and improve youth service hubs, while exploring the creation of up to five new sites across the province. 
  • Up to 1,150 additional supportive housing units across Ontario for people living with mental illness and addictions, especially those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. 

    View February 8th Update.

Implications for Occupational Therapists

OTs working in mental health will recognize opportunities for OT services to support the goals of new initiatives and to complement existing services to achieve goals.  OSOT’s Mental Health Sector Team will review and monitor developments announced, however, OTs working in mental health are encouraged to keep OSOT informed of developments in your community relating to announced developments (see updates above) such as:

  • youth hubs
  • access to psychotherapy services
  • mental health service expansion in primary care
  • supportive housing for people living with mental illness
  • expanding eating disorder services
  • workplace and employment mental health services
  • mental health services for students through to post-secondary
  • mental health services for indigenous communities
  • expanded services in the justice system
  • and others

Occupational therapists bring a unique lens of perspective and treatment and OSOT asserts that the profession has much to offer to support Ontarians across the lifespan and to add value to the mental health system.  Please forward comments/input to the OSOT Mental Health Sector Team.