There is no question that stigma is an obstacle to those seeking help for mental illness.
The question is, once mental illness is accepted in the same way as any other medical malady, will there be sufficient resources in place to deal with those who do come forward?
Alan Stevenson of the Canadian Mental Health Association recently told the Sarnia Observer that his agency is seeing yearly jumps in the number of people coming forward with anxiety and depression largely due to the success of anti-stigma campaigns.
The question is, what funding resources is he using to deal with these surges in demand?
The spring budget was again oddly silent about mental health. Ontario is in the final year of its three-year plan to improve funding for mental health addressing children and youth. That’s $93 million in new funding this year – the last of a $257 million investment over three years.
You may recall that two years ago we were surprised to learn that the 10-year general mental health strategy had turned into a three-year plan for children and youth.
Children’s Mental Health Ontario, despite receiving the only real increases in mental health funding, noted in this year’s pre-budget submission that the gap between demand for child and youth mental health services and the capacity to meet needs is as large as ever.
While they are treating more children, demand is continuing to outstrip supply.