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GUELPH — MPP for Guelph Mike Schreiner released the following statement to mark Mental Health Week.

“Every year, Mental Health Week encourages a more open dialogue about mental illness and addiction in our communities.

Over the last several years, discourse has been shifting slowly but surely. Finally, we are making progress when it comes to breaking the stigma associated with mental illness.

For too long, those with mental health issues have been ignored, misunderstood and even criminalized.

But mental health and addiction are not criminal issues. They’re health issues.

This year, Mental Health Week focuses on the theme ‘My Story.’ Because each of our stories can help point the way to a stronger, more compassionate mental healthcare system.

I’m so grateful to everyone who has shared their stories with me over the years. It’s clear that across Ontario, so many of us are committed to supporting one another and pushing to strengthen services in our communities.

Because unfortunately, while mental health awareness has improved, services in Ontario have not kept pace.

People need access to mental health services now, not tomorrow, and not five years from now. And I have a vision for a better mental healthcare system.

One where everyone can receive the care they need from a system that’s affordable, accessible, comprehensive, and easy to navigate.

Where we address the social and environmental determinants of mental health and confront these challenges at their root.

And we are committed to working across party lines to ensure that people receive comprehensive care when and where they need it.

Because today and every day, mental health is health.”

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