Citizens With Disabilities - Ontario
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Southeastern Ontario Celebrates Mental Health Week

For Release - April 28th, 2008

For the third year, local child and youth mental health providers are collaborating to recognize Mental Health Week, May 4th to 11th, and to raise awareness of the importance mental health plays and its impact on children, youth, families and our society.

The celebration is being launched with a community forum on April 29th, 6:00 - 8:00 pm, at the Days Inn, 33 Benson Street, Kingston. Getting The Message Out - The Sequel is part of an ongoing community mobilization campaign. Local providers, union leaders, Board of Directors, and youth and parent delegates all agree that child and youth mental health is everyone's business. Unless we find our collective voice to advocate for much needed services the current plight of child and youth mental health will continue.

Child and youth mental health has had unprecedented attention over the past few years. It caught attention by the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology in November 2005. Under the leadership of Senator Michael Kirby, the first ever national study of mental health and addiction was completed. The final report Out of the Shadows at Last punctuated the plight of mental health in our province and country and described child and youth mental health as "the orphan of public health care". Since then the Mental Health Commission of Canada has been created.

Within Ontario, the first ever children's mental health policy framework was released in November 2006 entitled A Shared Responsibility. While there was initial optimism about the renewed focus by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services on mental health, little has been done since then to make the vision a reality. To date there is no concrete action plan to revitalize the service system. More so, it is extremely disappointing that in the recent provincial budget there was essentially nothing provided to even sustain the slowly eroding community capacity to provide timely, accessible and quality mental health interventions.

This situation is simply unacceptable. Particularly given the startling statistics that one in five children and youth in Ontario struggles with their mental health. We know timely intervention and treatment works and we know mental health problems can be solved best when identified early. Why is more not being done to address this issue? Local leaders are strongly encouraging parents, youth and community leaders to join with them in our call to government to make child and youth mental health a real and sustained priority.

JoAnne Maltby, Executive Director
Pat McGregor, President
Pathways for Children and Youth Local 460 OPSEU
Kingston, ON
613 546-8535 ext 229
Kingston, ON
613 546-1422 ext 33

Other Regional Contacts:

Nicki Collins, Executive Director
Franco Fragomeni, Coordinator of Mental Health Services
Open Doors for Lanark Children and Youth Quinte Health Care
Smiths Falls, ON
613 283-8260
Belleville, ON
613 969-7400

Terry Swift, Executive Director
Cathie West, Executive Director
Children's Mental Health Services Youth Habilitation Quinte Inc.
Belleville, ON
613 966-3100
Belleville, ON 613 969-0830

Sally Wills, Executive Director
Child and Youth Wellness Centre Leeds and Grenville
Brockville, ON
613 498-4844

More Mental Health articles.