Ontario Building a Stronger, More Resilient Mental Health System in Hamilton

Published on April 04, 2022

Over $5 million will expand access to mental health and addictions services at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton


News Release

HAMILTON — As part of its plan to build a stronger, more resilient health care system that is better prepared to respond to crisis, the Ontario government is investing over $5 million to redevelop St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s psychiatric emergency service. This funding will help double mental health and addictions emergency services at the hospital and ensure that patients and families in Hamilton and the surrounding region have access to high-quality care in a comfortable and compassionate space.

“Our government is ensuring that all Ontarians are supported on their journey to wellness by building a stronger, more comprehensive mental health and addictions system,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Redeveloping St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s psychiatric emergency service will expand mental health services so people in crisis have access to the right level of care in a safe environment.”

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton provides emergency mental health services at its Charlton Campus to approximately 4,000 patients per year. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital has experienced a 33 per cent an increase in urgent psychiatric care referrals from 2019 to 2021.

To better address the growing needs of the communities the hospital serves, the space next to the current emergency mental health department will be redeveloped into two patient care areas. One area will be for patients experiencing more severe mental health and addictions crises who need to be cared for in a more specialised environment, and the other will be for those who would benefit from other medical care and mental health supports. The new patient care areas will be separated by a centralized staff and physician space, with separate entrances and new patient and family waiting rooms that will enable the hospital to provide high-quality emergency mental health and addictions care, while improving patient confidentiality and accessibility.

“Every person in Ontario deserves safe and secure access to the most appropriate mental health and addictions supports that meet their unique needs,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “This much-needed investment will help to enhance access to the critical treatment provided by St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and builds on our commitment to develop accessible, high-quality mental health and addictions programs that fully support people and families, both now and in the future.”

Ontario is working with St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton to finalize the early stages of the planning process, which includes identifying programming, operational and space requirements and assessing how the project can further help address existing gaps in mental health and addictions care.


Quick Facts

  • The province provides a suite of mental health and addictions services for health care workers, including confidential intake and assessment, one to one psychological supports and internet Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is a partner in the health care worker mental wellness program and the Ontario Structured Psychotherapy program in the Ontario Health West Region.
  • To support high-quality care in Hamilton and the surrounding region, the government increased St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s operating funding for the third straight year. In 2021-22, the hospital received over $5.8 million in additional operating funding, representing an increase of 1.3 per cent to the operating funding the hospital received in 2020-21.
  • As part of the government’s $760 million commitment in the 2021 Budget to support an additional 3,100 hospital beds during the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton received funding approval for up to 92 transitional care beds, and four critical care beds to help build additional capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • To support growing demands on the health care system, Ontario’s investments over the next 10 years will lead to $30 billion in health infrastructure across the province. These investments will increase capacity in hospitals, build new health care facilities and renew existing hospitals and community health centres.
  • Ontario is investing $3.8 billion over 10 years to fill urgent gaps in mental health and addictions care, create new services and expand programs through Roadmap to Wellness. Since 2019, Ontario has invested $525 million in new annualized funding to create a connected, comprehensive and integrated mental health and addictions system, including an additional $175 million in 2021-22.

Quotes

"In Hamilton and surrounding region we’ve seen a surge in demand for high-quality care to address the needs of vulnerable individuals requiring mental health treatment. Our government has made significant investments to expand the availability of mental health and addictions services to ensure that individuals and families in Hamilton have access to the help they expect and deserve."

- Donna Skelly
MPP for Flamborough-Glanbrook

"This investment comes at a critical time for our community and those we serve. We know that expanding and improving access to high-quality mental health and addiction services is essential to our pandemic recovery. Ensuring we can deliver emergency mental health care to those in crisis in a compassionate and therapeutic environment is essential to healing and recovery. We look forward to continuing to work with all partners to expand and connect mental health and addiction care so that accessing care is easier."

- Melissa Farrell
President, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton


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