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Ontario invests $10.5M to expand youth mental health and addictions treatment program

File: The Ontario legislature.
File: The Ontario legislature.

The province is investing $10.5 million to expand access to mental health treatment with up to 24 new beds at the Syl Apps Youth Centre in Oakville and at the Roberts/Smart Centre in Ottawa.

The government said an additional 52 children and youth with complex needs will get direct mental health and addictions support each year thanks to the funding.

The investment “will help vulnerable children, youth and their families in their time of need and allow them to access supports faster,” Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott.

The province’s Secure Treatment Program provides intensive care for children and youth with acute and complex mental health or addictions challenges that may put them at risk of self-harm or harm to others.

The expansion will address “gaps in care,” the province said in a statement, and improve access while decreasing wait lists and “extensive” wait times.

The Syl Apps Youth Centre is expected to accept more youth by this summer, while the Roberts/Smart Centre is expected to be fully implemented in 2022 and 2023.

The province is also increasing annual base funding by 10 per cent at the Syl Apps Youth Centre, the Roberts/Smart Centre, as well as the Youthdale Treatment Centre in Toronto.

Kimberly Moran, CEO of Children’s Mental Health Ontario, called the program “an essential part of the child and youth mental health system,” and called the funding a “critical step.”

“I know firsthand just how important this investment will be to other Ontario kids and their families, who right now are facing long wait times for secure treatment and as a result often end up in the hospital in crisis,” Moran said.

The province is also increasing annual base funding by 10 per cent at the Syl Apps Youth Centre, the Roberts/Smart Centre, as well as the Youthdale Treatment Centre in Toronto.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2021

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