More Mental Health Supports Needed in London

Queen’s Park, May 17, 2016 – During Question Period today, London NDP MPPs Peggy Sattler (London West) and Teresa Armstrong (London-Fanshawe) demanded Acting Premier Deb Matthews increase support for London’s mental health services, after the London and District Distress Centre announced it will be closing due to lack of funding.

“Telephone crisis support provides a key entry point into a mental health system that is already stretched to the limit. Too many Londoners in crisis have been turned away from ER or forced to wait days to access emergency mental health services. The new 24/7 mental health crisis centre is already at capacity,” Sattler said.

“What will the Acting Premier do to ensure that the community mental health services Londoners need are in place, after they call the crisis line?”

Last Saturday Londoners learned that the London and District Distress Centre will close its doors at the end of the year. The same day, NDP leader Andrea Horwath was in London with Sattler and Armstrong, listening to patients and health care providers share horror stories about the failure of London’s health care system, and the crisis in mental health.

Armstrong demanded answers from Acting Premier Matthews about the continuing pressure on London’s mental health system.

“London’s new 24/7 mental health crisis centre was full almost from the day it opened,” Armstrong said. “About 70 per cent of those walking in the door are first-time users of mental health supports. Sixty per cent of people are under the age of 35. Clearly, the demands for mental health services in London are increasing and will continue to grow.”

“What concrete action will the Acting Premier take to expand access to community-based mental health services in London?” Armstrong said.