Mental Health and Addictions

Young woman crouched down with her hands over her faceThe terms "mental illness" and "addiction" refer to a wide range of disorders that affect mood, thinking and behaviour.

It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder. By the age of 40, about 50% of the population will have, or have had, a mental illness (source: Mental Health Commission of Canada).

Addiction and mental health are complex issues caused by many contributing factors. Solutions that address the needs of those experiencing mental health and/or addiction challenges are best developed with active, meaningful participation of everyone involved: people with lived experience, families, and health service providers.

Aligned with provincial directions and priorities, the Central LHIN funded 24 mental health and addiction service providers over $89 million in 2018/19. As well, the LHIN’s Mental Health and Addiction Nurses conducted outreach to help at-risk students with mental health or addictions remain in or transition back to school.

Working with many stakeholders – patients with lived experience, families, community mental health and addictions agencies, other health service providers, community service agencies, public health units and school boards, to name a few partners – we are working together to increase access, coordination and integration of services (i.e. treatment, rehabilitation, counselling, supportive housing; crisis, etc.) that support mental wellness, and promote and sustain recovery.

Central LHIN priorities and actions in 2018/19, in collaboration with partners, have included:

  1. Collaboratively through the Service Coordination Council (SCC), worked to improve integration, coordination and distribution of mental health and addiction services as outlined in the Central LHIN’s Mental Health and Addictions Supports within Housing Action Plan for York Region. The action plan was co-designed with persons with lived experience, their families, housing providers, health service providers and police/emergency services. The SCC operated from 2015 to March 2019, and the LHIN would like to extend sincere thanks to all contributors.

  2. Continued to support The Access Point, which provides coordinated access to a number of services within a large network of providers through a streamlined application and intake process. This is a referral service and partnership made up of Addiction Services for York Region, Canadian Mental Health Association-York and South Simcoe, LOFT Crosslinks Housing and Support Services, Southlake Regional Health Centre and York Social Service Network.

  3. Provided funding for support services in new supportive housing for people with serious mental health issues and/or problematic substance use who were homeless or at risk of being homeless.

  4. Supported comprehensive addictions treatment programming through new health and social service professional and expansion of Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) Clinics in five locations, with sixth location to follow. Addictions Services York Region works in partnership with Central LHIN hospitals for these services.

  5. Provided support services to over 950 youth in schools through Central LHIN Mental Health and Addictions Nurses.

  6. Improved access to structured psychotherapy (Big White Wall and BounceBack), and supporting an increasing access to psychological therapies demonstration project with mental health hospitals and community-based providers to support adults with mild to moderate depression and anxiety.

  7. Supported the creation of a new Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team in South Simcoe.

  8. Supported a cross-sector, community-led proposal for a Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Hub in York Region. 

  9. Co-chaired a cross-sector, cross-ministerial collaborative focused on supporting children, youth and families with complex care needs, including mental health.

  10. Drafted a three-year Addictions Strategy to enhance coordination and service integration.

  11. View the list of LHIN-funded mental health and addictions crisis programs.

Local Services and Resources

  1. Central LHIN-funded Mental Health and Addictions – offers links to health service provider websites for services overview and contact information
  2. Centralhealthline.ca – searchable online directory for various local services
  3. Mental Health at School – resources for youth, parents, educators, providers
  4. One Stop Shop Directory – overview of mental health, addiction, housing, other resources in York Region

Provincial Resources

  1. Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care - information about mental health and addictions
  2. Ontario’s Ministry of Children and Youth Services - information about child and youth mental health
  3. Connex Ontario – database of province-wide mental health, addictions and problem gambling services available across Ontario, or call 1-866-531-2600 to speak to Connex staff
  4. Prescription opioids: Know the risks; learn proper use
  5. Big White Wall – free online support for anyone over 16 experiencing mild to moderate anxiety or depression
  6. BounceBack videos – offers support to Ontarians age 15+ to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety
  7. BounceBack telephone coaching – offers additional support in managing depression and anxiety; requires referral from a primary care provider