Ontario Liberals promise $2.1B to 'rebuild' mental health care system

Ontario's Liberal government is promising to spend $2.1 billion over the next four years to "rebuild" the province's mental health system.

Secondary schools students will have access to an additional mental health worker

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne promised to expand the province's OHIP+ program to includes people 65 and over. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Ontario's Liberal government is promising to spend $2.1 billion over the next four years to "rebuild" the province's mental health system.

Premier Kathleen Wynne says that the spending will make services more accessible, ensuring people can find treatment through a local doctor's office, school or community-based organization.

"We know there can be no health without mental health, No one in Ontario should struggle to access mental health or addictions care for themselves or their loved ones," Wynne told a crowd of supporters.

Wynne says her plan would bolster youth access to therapy and counselling, allowing 12,000 more young people to access service in 2018-2019 and growing that number to 46,000 in 2021-2022.

The premier made her announcement at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health in west Toronto, flanked a new of her top cabinet members. 

The Liberal plan unveiled Wednesday also calls for every secondary school in the province to have access to an additional mental health worker, creating approximately 400 new positions within two years.

The program would also increase access to publicly funded psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioural therapy, for up to 350,000 more people with mild to moderate anxiety or depression.

The announcement comes after a government throne speech Monday that promised a significant funding commitment for mental health in the provincial budget, which will be tabled on March 28.

With files from CBC