With an election less than a month away, it’s time to look at what the Ontario Liberals have failed to accomplish in mental health, and what the other parties are offering.
A timeline of Liberal inaction
When the Liberals first took power in 2003, they in the ER and was then discharged with no treatment because there were no beds. In Guelph, Ont., the emergency room was brought to a standstill because there were so many psychiatric patients waiting for the too-few beds available for them.
Just this month, the Toronto Star did an investigative feature on the mental health overcrowding at Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, Ont. What they found was that overcrowding is putting vulnerable patients at risk with patients sleeping in meeting rooms, and three people squeezed into a room designed for one. Premier Wynne’s response to this was that it just goes to prove that more people are coming forward to get help.
To sum up the disaster that Ontario faces in mental health treatment, Steve Paikin on “The Agenda” just had a number of experts discuss the state of the province’s mental health care today. Dr. Thomas Unger, the chief of psychiatry at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, called what we have presently “an irrational, fractured, overwhelmed (system). I’d call it an effing mess if I can say that on your show.”
A vote for better mental health
Despite the many failings of past elections to materialize change, we have a new opportunity before us.
The current Liberal platform on mental health care makes many promises, including an extra $2.1 billion in spending to rebuild the system. Given their track record over the past 15 years, however, it is hard to believe a word of it.
What are our other options?
The Ontario Progressive Conservative Party is offering $1.9 billion over the next decade on mental health and addiction support but have provided no details. Is that a total of $1.9 billion, or an additional $1.9 billion over and above what is being spent now? PC Candidate Doug Ford hasn’t told anyone yet, and election day is only a few weeks away.
The NDP, on the other hand, do provide a comprehensive plan for improving mental health care and plan to establish a new ministry for mental health and addictions.
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Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Travel