PARIS — With Andrea Horwath and the NDP, people will be able to make a counselling or therapy appointment at no cost, saving about $200 a visit — at a time when more and more people could use some mental health support.
“Mental health care is health care, and you should not have to pay $200 every time you need it,” said Horwath. “We’re going to fix it. With my plan, you’re going to be able to see a counsellor or therapist when you need to, with no cost. Just like going to your family doctor.
“Coming out of the pandemic, I hear from a lot of parents who say they see a personality change in their little ones. And isolation, loss, grief or financial stress has hit so many of us. We all should have access to mental health support — no matter the size of your wallet.”
With Horwath’s Universal Mental Health Care plan, counselling and therapy will be covered by an OHIP card, not a credit card, and publicly funded mental health services will be expanded and more accessible. The NDP’s comprehensive plan includes a suite of investments and changes to give the mental health and addictions sector more staff, resources and coordination, including the creation of Mental Health Ontario.
For Grade 9 student Mya MacLeod, that would make a big difference. “We want access to trusted adults to talk to. That can help us cope and give us strategies to thrive. Sometimes we need that help right now. Hearing Andrea’s strong commitment to our mental wellness today gives me hope.”
The NDP plan includes:
- Ensuring public access to psychotherapy for everyone, saving about $200 per visit for counselling or therapy.
- Implementing the Make Kids Count Action Plan as laid out by the Children’s Health Coalition, and reducing the waitlist for children’s mental health to 30 days.
- Introducing targeted hospital funding to increase the number of Tier 5 treatment beds for people with complex needs.
- Investing $10 million more into mobile crisis services and $7 million more for safe bed programs to support mobile crisis teams.
- Funding primary care doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychotherapists, and social workers to be trained in a wide range of Cognitive Behavioural Therapies to increase the number of available, affordable, and culturally appropriate CBT practitioners.
At least one in four Ontarians sought mental health or addictions help during the pandemic. Counselling is the service most commonly needed. Psychotherapists, psychologists, nurses and social workers can offer therapy, but unless they are part of a family health team it’s not covered by OHIP.