Counselling and therapy under OHIP means about $200 per visit saved for people in the Sault Ste. Marie 

Michele McCleave-Kennedy

With Andrea Horwath and the NDP, people in Sault Ste. Marie and across the province will be able to make a counselling or therapy appointment at no cost, saving about $200 a visit, or getting services they otherwise couldn’t afford.

“Mental health care is health care, plain and simple,” said Michele McCleave-Kennedy, NDP candidate for Sault Ste. Marie. “One of the things I hear most often at the doors is the need for better access to mental health services, including counselling and therapy. Most who need it simply can’t afford it. Under an NDP government, it will be just like going to their family doctor.”

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.

“As an education worker, I see literally every day how much people in our community would benefit from better access to counselling and therapy. I know people personally – as do many in the Sault – who have been unable to get the mental health treatment they need because they can’t afford it. The NDP will fix that,” said McCleave-Kennedy.

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.