The Strategy

Ontario's Mental Health and Addictions Strategy

In June 2011, the government of Ontario released Open Minds, Healthy Minds: Ontario’s Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, a provincial strategy that commits to reducing the burden of mental illness and addictions by ensuring all Ontarians have timely access to an integrated system of coordinated care. The initial three years of the strategy emphasize services for children and youth. Three priorities in this area will contribute to the goals of the overall Strategy:

  1. Providing children, youth and families with fast access to high quality services.
  2. Identifying and intervening in child and youth mental health issues early.
  3. Closing critical services gaps for vulnerable children and youth, children and youth at key transition points, and those in remote communities.

Expanding on this last priority, the Strategy suggests that:

“Currently, there are some groups of children that have even greater challenges accessing the care they need. To address this, we need to increase the availability of culturally-appropriate services to better serve more children and families who are Aboriginal, or in high needs, or in underserved communities, who have complex mental health needs requiring specialized care, and/or who must navigate across key transition points.”

To close these critical service gaps for vulnerable children and youth, the Strategy commits to creating 18 Service Collaboratives in communities across Ontario. These Collaboratives are focused on improving services for children and youth in transition: from community to hospital settings; between health and justice systems; and from child-focused to adult services.