Ontario Expanding Mental Health Services for Children and Youth

Published on October 21, 2020

Investments Part of the Government’s Plan to Build a Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions System


News Release

TORONTO — The Ontario government is providing $24.3 million in targeted investments to hire additional staff, increase access to counselling and therapy, create new programs to help manage stress, depression and anxiety, and address eating disorders and other challenges facing children and youth. This funding is part of the government's $176 million investment in the Roadmap to Wellness, a comprehensive plan to build a fully connected mental health and addictions system across the province.

Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women's Issues.

"I know this has been a challenging period for many of our kids and young people, but by making these targeted investments our government is making it easier for them to access the mental health and addictions services they need," said Premier Ford. "As Premier, I want to make sure there is always someone there ready to listen and provide expert help. We need to support and help each other in order to get through this pandemic and start us down the road to recovery together."

"Our government continues to make critical investments in the mental health and addictions sector to ensure children, youth and their families have access to the supports they need, especially during these unprecedented times," said Minister Elliott. "Our government is determined to build a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions system that will benefit people in every corner of the province."

The government is making targeted investments in community-based mental health supports and services for children and youth with a focus on evidence-based and innovative programs including:

  • $11 million for over 80 children and youth mental health service providers to enhance capacity and access to critical frontline child and youth mental health services, including:
    • Hiring additional staff;
    • Purchasing and developing additional resources to increase access to services such as counselling and therapy, intensive and crisis services; and
    • Supports for families and caregivers of children and youth with mental health and addictions challenges.
  • $5.8 million for youth wellness teams at 10 Youth Wellness Hubs across Ontario. These youth-friendly service locations are designed for youth, and offer walk-in access to primary care and mental health and addictions services for people between the ages of 12 and 25;
  • $3.7 million for a new eating disorders program. This early intervention program will help prevent and support children and youth up to the age of 25 that may be struggling with an eating disorder. There will be four pilot sites to start, with plans to expand the program across the province;
  • $2 million for the implementation of an Ontario Structured Psychotherapy Program for families, children and youth. This new program will provide evidence-based mental health supports for children, youth and their families that will help them develop skills to manage stress, depression and anxiety in a healthy way;
  • $1 million for child and youth mental health services delivered in congregate settings. This funding will help provide care that will better meet their needs; and
  • $800,000 to support the creation and operation of Eating Disorders Ontario, which will help with quality improvement across the whole eating disorders sector.

"Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have seen thousands of individuals and families reach out for help and we know that many continue to face mental health and addiction challenges today," said Associate Minister Tibollo. "By significantly expanding access to mental health and addictions supports for our children and youth, we are taking another step towards building a mental health and addictions system for the future, where people and families across Ontario are fully supported in their journey towards mental wellness."

"We have clearly seen the demand for mental health supports for children and youth across our province and we must ensure their needs are being met," said Associate Minister Dunlop. "These new investments in targeted programs will allow our young people and their caregivers to access better quality mental health services that would allow them the opportunity to flourish."


Quick Facts

  • To enable Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario is investing $3.8 billion over 10 years to create new services and expand programs.
  • The government is investing $176 million this year in mental health and addiction services. This investment builds on the $174 million the government invested last year for mental health and addictions programs, bringing new base investments across the sector since 2019-20 to a total of more than $350 million.
  • As part of the government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the province invested an additional $26.75 million in emergency funding for mental health and addictions services. The funding has already helped more than 40,000 Ontarians continue to access the services they need during this challenging time, including new supports such as online and virtual tools and counselling.
  • The province is investing $19.25 million in mental health supports for Ontario’s postsecondary students this year.
  • To find the right supports, visit COVID-19: Support for People to get information about the many available and free mental health services and supports.

Additional Resources