Provincial funding aims to improve access to mental health services

Two local agencies are receiving funding as part of the more than $31 million the Ontario government is providing to improve access to mental health services, particularly for youth, across the province.

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Two local agencies are receiving funding as part of the more than $31 million the Ontario government is providing to improve access to mental health services, particularly for youth, across the province.

Chatham-Kent Children’s Services will receive $133,800 and Family Service Kent is getting $6,000, stated a media release from Chatham-Kent––Leamington MPP Rick Nicholls.

The latest funding is part of the province’s commitment to invest $3.8 billion over 10 years to implement the Roadmap to Wellness, a plan to build a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions system to serve Ontarians of all ages, stated the media release.

The $31 million will help improve access to specialized mental health treatment services, reduce wait lists and wait times, and support the mental health and well-being of children and youth by addressing the increased demand for services during COVID-19.

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“As mental health becomes even more prominent in our society, talking about it and giving proper support is vital for the well being of all Ontarians,” said Nicholls in the release. “I am happy to see our government investing money into proper mental health programs that will significantly benefit all, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The provincial funding announcement is welcome news, said Teri Thomas-Vanos, Chatham-Kent Children’s Services executive director, in the release.

“This investment will allow for increased capacity to respond to the needs in our community,” she said. “Access to services should never be a barrier for children and youth achieving their full potential. The pandemic has resulted in very challenging times for everyone, and wellness has been impacted on many levels.”

She said kids are no exception to the conditions that have resulted from COVID, acknowledging both the immediate and long-term effects that will result.

“We also know that Indigenous, Black, racialized children, and youth and families face even greater barriers to accessing supports,” Thomas-Vanos said. “As we look forward to recovery, we appreciate the additional financial resources that will allow for mental health services to be delivered at the local level for the youngest residents of Chatham-Kent.”

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