Ontario is investing an additional $101,000 annually to improve mental services for children and youth in Sault Ste. Marie. This funding is part of a province-wide investment of $6 million to hire approximately 80 new workers to help approximately 4,000 more children, youth and their families in Ontario each year, David Orazietti MPP announced today.
“Our government is committed to providing Ontario families with the access to the services they need, when they need them,” said Orazietti. “Today’s investment will allow Algoma Family Services to help more children and youth in our community, and to further tailor services and care as appropriate.”
Approximately one in five children and youth in Ontario experience a mental health challenge and roughly 70 per cent of mental health challenges have their onset in childhood or youth. Early identification and intervention can lead to improved achievement in school and better health outcomes in life.
The new mental health worker will be used by Algoma Family Services for more walk-in services and culturally-appropriate counselling services for First Nation, Aboriginal, Metis and Inuit children and youth.
“The $101,000 annualized new investment in Algoma Family Services (AFS) as a children’s mental health lead agency allows us to build further capacity in the priority area of services to our First Nations, Metis and Urban Aboriginal population. At AFS our value proposition is to ensure we provide the right services at the right time at the right place by the right people and we are committed to ensuring timely service for children, youth, adults and families in need,” said Ali Juma, CEO Algoma Family Services. “The funding will allow us to recruit an Indigenous Outreach Counsellor and will also help support our walk in service which opened last November in partnership with Algoma Public Health and the Canadian Mental Health Association. We are appreciative of this investment and thank Mr. Orazietti for being such a strong champion for children’s mental health.”
Lead agencies for child and youth mental health led local planning for the additional $6 million in funding supports, in 33 service areas across Ontario. This funding has been allocated to, and supports the work of, local, community-based, mental health services for children and youth. Lead agencies work directly with schools, hospitals, and other community partners to make sure mental health services meet the needs of those who need them, close to home.
Every child and youth deserves the opportunity to thrive and have the best possible start in life. Increasing mental health supports for children and youth is one way Ontario is working to support families and create positive environments so all of our children and youth can reach their full potential.