Dear Kathleen Wynne and Those Running for Office,
This post is an open letter from a concerned mom.
I am not sure you are aware of the crisis facing our kids. If you are you, you have done too little. Kids especially our youth wait far too long for help when they are in crisis. When a child is in crisis they wait for help when it comes to their mental health.
My own daughter languished on a high priority wait list for months waiting for a program that would assess her needs and get her a proper diagnosis. While she waited we had daily phone calls from a triage nurse and during this time period her school put her on a do not admit. She would not attend school for 5 months. No education was offered during this time. Can you imagine that happening to a child you know? a child you care about? Children are languishing because the people that could change things do nothing.
My daughter waited over 2 years for help. Would you wait two years for treatment of an illness that is having a serious impact on your life? one that would almost take your life? The average child waits over 18 months in the province of Ontario for help. Most in the GTA wait longer.
Here is a scary honest stat. Four in 10 children do not get the help they need. We are failing our children. My own daughter was referred to community help after a hospital stay. The programs and treatment recommended for her NEVER came. As a parent, I could not wait for my community. I was forced to take action on my own. I had to navigate a broken system. I had to pay out of pocket for therapy. It was a daily nightmare for about two years.
Here is the reality most adults who suffer from mental illness showed signs in childhood. By age 40 almost half of all of those who live in Ontario will have struggled with a mental health issue. What if we helped people sooner? Think of the long-term cost savings? Children’s Mental Health Ontario is calling on the Government of Ontario to make child and youth mental health a priority in its next budget. Will you answer their request with real action?
Let this mom know, I will be voting on this one issue.
Mom of One
My dear friends the stats are scary and I would encourage you to reach out to our premier and let her know your concerns.
Here are some stats that scare the heck out of me. They are fact, not fiction.
- Mental illness impacts us all. We know that 70% of adult mental illnesses begin in childhood and by the age of 40, half of all Ontarians will have struggled with a mental health problem.
- In Ontario, an alarming 36% of parents report seeking mental health services for their children.
- Half of the parents who sought help said they faced challenges in getting the services they needed. The primary reason cited was long wait times (65% of those who sought help).
- Four in 10 youth have sought help for mental health issues but nearly half of them were not able to get the help they needed.
- $120M additional funds annually are needed to meet the increasing demand and shortage of mental health and addiction services for both children and youth. Children’s Mental Health Ontario is calling on the Government of Ontario to make child and youth mental health a priority in its next budget. Join us and urge the Ontario government to act now at kidsmentalhealthcantwait.ca
- When children receive treatment in hospitals, they are stabilized, kept for a few days, and are discharged only to wait in long lines for treatment at child and youth mental health centres.
- Nearly half of all youth in Ontario (46%) report having missed school as a result of their anxiety, and one-quarter of all kids with mental health issues experience substantially lower achievement at school.
- With nowhere to turn because of long wait lists or a shortage of services near where they live, many children and youth are forced in desperation and crisis to seek mental health treatment at hospital emergency rooms. Since 2006-07, there has been a 63% increase in emergency department visits and a 67% increase in hospitalizations for Ontario children and youth with mental health issues. ( my daughter had to be one of these).
Here is what should be happening. Can you help advocate for it?
Children’s Mental Health Ontario urges the government to make crucial investments to:
- Ensure that no child or youth wait more than 30 days for mental health and addictions treatment
- Expand specialized youth mental health and addictions centres to ensure that children and youth get the treatment they need
- Hire and retain the highest skilled staff caring for our most vulnerable children
- Develop quality standards to deliver the best mental health and addictions services
Today you can make a difference with one simple action.
That is why for Bell Let’s Talk Day we are asking you to raise your voice for children’s mental health. Click here to send Premier Kathleen Wynne a message and let her know that our #kidscantwait for mental healthcare. http://kidsmentalhealthcantwait.ca/
**This is not a sponsored post I am simply a mom who has had to navigate a very broken system.