Ontario to spend $72.6M over 3 years on psychotherapy

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins announced on Monday that the province will provide an additional $ 72.6 million over the next three years for psychotherapy programs.

Hoskins said the money is expected to help more than 100,000 people suffering from mental health conditions.

“Structured psychotherapy is an evidence-based, life-saving treatment for illnesses such as anxiety and depression,” Hoskins said in a news release.

“Public funding for this intervention is a major milestone toward ensuring that people with mental illness receive just and equitable access to the health care they deserve.” 

Speaking at the start of Mental Illness Awareness Week at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, Hoskins said the money is part of the province’s $ 140-million investment in mental health services over three years.

CAMH provides inpatient and outpatient clinical supports for people with complex mental illness, patient and family resources, and recreation facilities.

The amount is in addition to the $ 3.7 billion that Ontario invested in mental health services in 2015-16, he said.

CAMH Queen West site redevelopment begins

Hoskins said the province will invest in the following programs:

  • In-person individual and group psychotherapy counselling programs coordinated through Ontario’s four specialty mental health hospitals — CAMH, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, Royal Ottawa Health Care Group and Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care — through the help of community-based providers.
  • These programs will be provided through local primary care providers and community mental health agencies, and will also be available remotely through the Ontario Telemedicine Network.
  • Bounce Back, a coaching program managed by Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario, which includes telephone support and instructional workbooks that help people learn skills to address problems related to moderate depression and anxiety.
  • Online mental health self-management tools coordinated by the Ontario Telemedicine Network.

According to the Ontario government, people can access these programs by speaking to their primary care providers and visiting local community mental health and addictions centres. 

Hoskins also drew attention to the beginning of construction for CAMH’s Queen West site redevelopment.

The redevelopment means 655,000 square feet of new space will be constructed. The expansion will include 235 inpatient beds, an emergency room open 24 hours, research and education facilities, and parks and retail space within CAMH’s neighbourhood.

Hoskins said Ontario is investing up to $ 633 million in CAMH’s expansion.

According to the news release, about 30 per cent of Ontario residents will experience mental illness or substance abuse at some point in their lifetime.

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CBC | Health News