- Stephen Lecce, MPP
Ontario Strengthening Mental Health Services in the Justice System
February 02, 2021
The Ontario government is investing $6.48 million to strengthen mental health and addiction supports for victims, front-line workers, Indigenous families and youth involved in the justice system. The funding will allow victim assistance organizations to hire more staff, and provide safe housing and mental health services for First Nations youth and families and help community organizations provide COVID-19 emergency services. "Through this investment we are making our communities safer and healthier by expanding mental health supports in Ontario's justice system, particularly for victims of crime, youth, Indigenous families and front-line workers," said Attorney General Doug Downey. "By supporting existing and new mental health services we will ensure more Ontarians can access local help when and where they need it, including in Northern, rural and Indigenous communities." This investment is part of the historic $147 million in mental health and addictions supports announced in December 2020 and will be used to:
Hire staff and increase mental health supports for victim crisis assistance organizations offering intervention services to victims and families in the immediate aftermath of a crime;
Make it easier for community organizations to safely provide supervised access services during the pandemic for children and families impacted by mental health and/or addiction issues;
Establish safe, secure housing and mental health services for isolated First Nations youth, adults and families and at-risk young adults in Kenora, including a new Land-Based Healing and Wellness program at Black Sturgeon Lake;
Help provide COVID-19 emergency services and tailored, culturally appropriate mental health and addiction supports for youth at the London, Toronto Northwest and Toronto Downtown East justice centres.
"It has always been our mission to ensure individuals and families who need the extra help have access to the highest-quality mental health and addictions care that meets their unique needs," said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. "This invesment builds on our commitment to increasing access to Ontario's mental health and addictions system and ensuring our most vulnerable populations are fully supported during the COVID-19 outbreak." "Our government recognizes the need to ensure individuals and families are fully supported during these challenging times," said Attorney General Downey. "This investment will give our front-line workers and community organizations the resources they need to safely continue serving victims and families during the pandemic, and help ensure safe, secure housing and mental health supports for youth and Indigenous families."
The funding being announced today is part of the government's Roadmap to Wellness, a comprehensive plan to deliver high-quality care and build a modern, connected and comprehensive mental health and addictions system.
To enable Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario is investing $3.8 billion over 10 years to create new services and expand programs.
The funding being announced today builds on the $4 million investment to support victims and protect front-line justice staff.
The Black Sturgeon Lake site will bring First Nations adults, youth and families together in a physically distanced environment to benefit from current and new mental health and wellness programs, including healing circles, Right to Play and youth language revitalization.
Justice centres place health and social services with law enforcement and court facilities in a community setting. The centres address the root causes of crime and include violence intervention programs, where needed.