Everything Is Not OK: 74% of Ontarians experiencing increased mental health and substance use challenges during the pandemic

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Province's mental health leaders launch Everything Is Not OK campaign calling on governments to take immediate action

Ontario's leading mental health and addiction organizations are coming together to say Everything Is Not OK in a new campaign that highlights the impacts of COVID-19 on the mental health of children, youth and adults. The campaign calls for immediate action by all levels of government to reduce wait times for mental health and addiction services.

Ontario's mental health crisis is reaching a breaking point as a result of the pandemic. Almost 75 per cent of the population is facing increased mental health and substance use challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic according to a survey from May 2020.

The seven organizations involved in the campaign, representing the full continuum of mental health and addiction care from community care to hospital care, serve more than 1 million Ontarians. The organizations include: Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO), Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario (CMHA), Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Children's Mental Health Ontario (CMHO), Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores), The Royal, and Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care.

They are calling on all levels of government to take action now to improve access to support and services for those who need urgent care. The campaign also includes specific actions that the organizations themselves are ready to take on as partners in improving care for the people who need it most.

Before COVID-19, there was a mental health and addiction crisis in Ontario. The pandemic has only made it worse. Businesses have closed. People have lost their jobs. Parents are attempting to work while helping teach their kids. Seniors have been isolated from their loved ones. At-risk populations are being overlooked. Students have not seen their friends. Health care workers are at the breaking point. Worst of all, people are dying.

These realities are having a significant impact and yet too many Ontarians are waiting too long for access to mental health and addiction care. That's why the Everything Is Not OK campaign is calling for a mental health and addiction system - supported by long-term and sustainable investments - that provides:

  1. Consistent care. Because regardless of whether you are in northern Ontario or rural Ontario or downtown Toronto, all Ontarians should get the same high-quality care.
  2. Faster care. Because people are waiting too long to get the support and treatment they are looking for.
  3. Easier access to care. Because it's too complicated and Ontarians don't know where to turn to for mental health or addiction services.
  4. Transparent care. Because Ontarians don't know how long they are going to wait and what they can expect from their care.

To find out why Everything Is Not OK, visit www.everythingisnotok.ca.