MPP Walker announces funding for mental health and addictions supports

Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker has announced that Grey Bruce Health Services will receive $382,500 in new funding for mental health and addictions programs.

The Ontario government is providing an additional $176 million this year to help expand access for critical mental health and addictions supports during COVID-19. This funding is part of the province’s investment of $3.8 billion over 10 years and enables Ontario’s comprehensive plan, A Roadmap to Wellness, to deliver high-quality care and build a modern, connected and comprehensive mental health and addictions system.

Locally, funding is being provided to Grey Bruce Health Services to support the following services and supports they provide in the community:

  • In-home/Mobile Withdrawal Management Services (Community WMS) (Expand the rapid access to addiction medicine to outlying areas of Grey Bruce.) – $115,000
  • In-home/Mobile Withdrawal Management Services (Community WMS) (Provide rapid (48 hr) follow up post Emergency Department visits.) – $107,500
  • Nurse Practitioners for Detox Services (Residential WMS) – $160,000

“This is terrific news for our entire community. I know the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak – including staying home, widespread physical distancing and being inundated with constant information on the virus – has been challenging for many people and families locally and across Ontario,” said Walker. “Minister Tibollo recently visited Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound and he knows how important this funding is for our local addictions and mental health care needs.”

“Alcohol over-use is very high in Grey Bruce, and opioid addictions are on the rise in our area,” said Naomi Vodden, Director of Mental Health Services at Grey Bruce Health Services. “This new investment will allow us to directly support more individuals who are struggling with alcohol and opioid issues in our communities. We will also be able to expand our outreach to family physicians and emergency doctors to ensure their patients get fast access to the right medical treatments, and to follow-up care.”

The $176 million investment will help address urgent gaps in care, enhance access to mental health and addictions services, create new supports and expand programs in several priority areas, including:

  • Community-based services in English and French, including services for children and youth;
  • Mental health and justice services;
  • Supportive housing for individuals with serious mental health and addiction challenges, and who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless;
  • Community and residential addictions, including treatment and care for opioid addictions;
  • Increased supports for Indigenous peoples, families, and communities; and
  • More hospital in-patient beds for mental health and addiction patients.

As part of this funding, the province is investing in targeted community and residential addictions services including:

  • $4 million for nurse practitioners for detox services to improve the medical management of clients who are withdrawing from substance use in residential withdrawal management facilities;
  • $8 million for addictions day and evening care to increase access to intensive non-residential addictions and substance use treatment services for youth and adults; and
  • $3.5 million for in-home/mobile withdrawal management services to increase access to community withdrawal management services for hard to service clients, including those located in rural areas;

“By making these investments, our government is making it easier for people to find and access high-quality mental health and addictions services when and where they need them,” said Minister Elliott. “We’re working across government and with system partners to provide long-term stability and investments in critical services to improve and modernize the system and close urgent gaps in care.”

“We made a promise to the people of Ontario to address the growing frustration with capacity issues within our mental health and addictions system,” said Associate Minister Tibollo. “Despite the additional challenges facing Ontarians during this outbreak, we are focused on increasing capacity and addressing wait times for services, so that Ontarians can get quality care and improve their quality of life.”

To enable Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario is investing $3.8 billion over 10 years to create new services and expand programs. The province has started to fill urgent gaps in care as identified by system partners. This year’s $176 million increase builds on the $174 million the government invested last year in more funding for mental health and addictions programs, bringing new base investments across the sector since 2019-20 to a total of more than $350 million.