“Everything is not ok when it comes to kids’ mental health,” Schreiner said at a virtual news conference.
The impact of COVID-19 has been severe on kids, including the uncertainty of online school, social isolation, and disruption of routine. According to SickKids, over 70 per cent of school-aged children in Ontario reported a deterioration in their mental health during the initial COVID-19 lockdowns.
My children’s mental health strategy will:
- Reduce children and youth mental health wait times to 30 days or less by hiring more frontline workers
- Ensure students can seamlessly connect to community mental health professionals that are located at or near schools
- Invest in Youth Wellness Hubs province-wide as a one-stop-shop for employment, health, education, recreation and housing support, with the goal of at least one hub in each community across Ontario
- Ensure that mental health, wellness and resiliency training is included across the entire education system, including implementing a comprehensive curriculum that covers issues such as mental wellness, coping skills, and stress management
There are over 28,000 children and youth on waitlists for mental health care, and wait times can reach up to 2.5 years.
“Mental health is health,” Schreiner said. “And help should be affordable and available when and where kids need it, not months or years down the line.”