Ontario Launches New Mental Health and Addictions Strategy

On March 3, 2020, Ontario launched  Roadmap to Wellness: A Plan to Build Ontario's Mental Health and Addictions System to ensure Ontario can provide a clear path forward to offer people easier access to higher-quality care in communities across the province.  

The strategy introduces the 
new Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence within Ontario Health which will serve as the foundation on which Roadmap to Wellness is built and will;

  • Provide central point of oversight for mental health and addictions care;
  • Be responsible for standardizing and monitoring the quality and delivery of evidence-based services and clinical care across the province to provide a better and more consistent patient experience; an
  • Provide support and resources to Ontario Health Teams as they connect patients to the different types of mental health and addictions care they need and help them navigate the complex system.

The strategy and the new Centre of Excellence will advance mental health and addictions care under 4 pillars of focus:

  • Improving quality
  • Expanding existing services
  • Implementing innovative solutions
  • improving access to services
View ​ Roadmap to Wellness: A Plan to Build Ontario's Mental Health and Addictions System.

Implications for Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists are important mental health professionals who already contribute meaningfully to Ontario's mental health and addictions system.  The new strategy presents new opportunities for occupational therapy engagement, especially as related to components such as:

  • the development of a Core Services Framework based on mental health and addiction needs

  • expansion of services which will include attention to:
    • children and youth services
    • mental health and the justice system
    • mental health services for police and corrections 
    • mental health services for first responders
    • supportive housing
    • mental health services for indigenous communities
    • mental health services for the francophone community

  • engagement in new innovative services and service delivery models such as Mindability

  • mental health services for persons on the autism spectrum with mental health needs

  • expanded addictions services

OSOT's mental health sector Teams will be assisting the Society to review and respond to the Strategy as feedback is requested.  We want to ensure that occupational therapy contributions can be recognized throughout the strategy.  Members are encouraged to review the strategy and to forward comments to support OSOT's response.  Forward your comments to osot@osot.on.ca. ​  Don't hesitate to identify the many ways OTs can contribute to the Ministry too!  See the call for feedback at the end of the strategy webpages.