Crisis Level: Horwath says Niagara children are waiting too long for mental health services

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath was in Niagara talking about mental health programs for children in need.

Horwath visited Pathstone Mental Health in St.Catharines meeting with parents and providers specializing in the mental health of children.

Pathstone sharing information with Horwath saying that children and youth in Niagara wait upwards of 12 months to access some of their programs.

The group discussed the negative impacts waiting has on kids and families both at school and at home and agreed it was at a crisis level.

The NDP leader saying that currently, resources for mental health are scattered across 11 ministries and she is pushing to streamline mental health services.

“We hear government talk the talk about mental health, but we don’t see any action. In 14 years the province hasn’t seen the opportunity to increase funding? “They talk a good game,” says Horwath.

“We commend the providers at Pathstone for what they are doing, but we know they are frustrated and worried because they are underfunded.” Without the government committed to increasing base funding through providers at centres including Pathstone, children won’t get the services they need to be effective in changing their outcome.

Shaun Baylis, President and CEO at Pathstone Mental Health confirmed what the NDP Leader stressed, and added, “We are working to serve thousands of kids in Niagara, and to keep up with the increase in referrals each year, approximately (10%) we need additional resources."

According to Children’s Mental Health Ontario, children should not be waiting more than 30 days for mental health and addictions treatment. But (CMHO) CEO Kim Moran said, “The truth is, some families are actually waiting close to two years for services.”