September 11, 2017
QUEEN’S PARK – London West MPP Peggy Sattler rose in the legislature today to demand that the Wynne Liberals address the crisis created by chronic underfunding of vital mental health services for children and youth.
“This summer I met with the board chairs of seven local children and youth mental health agencies, including Vanier, Craigwood, Merrymount, WAYS, Anago and London Family Court Clinic. Each month, the boards of these agencies are not only forced to consider service cuts, but even whether they can continue to keep their doors open,” said Sattler.
On the first day back in the legislature, Sattler called on Kathleen Wynne to respond to the many calls for help that the Liberals have so far ignored, despite the efforts of these local agencies to make London North Centre MPP Deb Matthews aware of the urgency of the situation.
During a period of 25 years, only two modest increases in base funding have been provided to children's mental health agencies, with no increases from the Conservatives and no increases from the Liberals since 2006. Over the same period, there has been a 53 per cent rise in cost of living and an alarming spike in demand for children's mental health services.
“In the last two years alone, London saw a 23 per cent increase in children’s mental health crisis intake, with almost one-quarter of these young people planning or attempting suicide,” said Sattler. “In 2016, London police dealt with almost 500 incidents related to youth mental health crises – more than double the number from 2010. And 61 per cent of London youth entering a community-based treatment program for the first time had been admitted to hospital at least twice before.”
Sattler wrote to Premier Wynne on June 27, urging her to address the crisis.
“I have yet to receive a response from the Premier to the letter I sent her in June,” said Sattler. “Londoners deserve a government that takes care of the basics - and puts the mental health needs of children first.”