Children and Youth Mental Health needs provincial support

Observer readers, Wednesday, March 2, 2016

In concurrence with Det.-Const. Mike Hart’s comments featured in the Feb. 25Sarnia Observer, more Children’s Mental Health Resources are needed for children and youth in this community. One in five children and youth across Ontario experience mental health issues. It has been more than a decade since Ontario has provided base funding for community-based children’s mental health care, yet children seeking treatment continues to rise.

Children’s Mental Health Ontario calculates that a strategic investment of $65 million annually over five years will improve mental health outcomes for children and youth, save lives and save the province $700 million in health care costs.

The current system is failing to provide for children and youth. Since 2006-07, hospital emergency department admissions for children and youth with mental illness have increased by 45 per cent while in-patient admissions have increased by a startling 58 per cent. This signals that there are insufficient supports in the community sector.

Huron House Boys’ Home is an accredited Children’s Mental Health facility and has been a fixture in this community since 1970. It is also the last CMH residential facility in the community but is funded for only six Sarnia-Lambton youth. Where are these youth going? The need is there but where is the funding?

The social services in this community’s collaboration is superior to most communities; we keep the needs of families and youth at the forefront and are supported by this amazing community. We make the most of public dollars but they are insufficient to provide the needed services.

The Children’s Mental Health sector is currently undergoing a government-inspired but much-needed transformation. A new funding model may be introduced. All of us should write our MPP’s to get this issue on their radar. It only makes sense.

Children’s Mental Health Week is May 1-7, 2016. Show your support. Wear a green ribbon.

Contact Huron House at 519-869-4000 to get one.

Don Adam

Huron House Boys’ Home Executive Director