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Waitlist for youth mental health services in Ontario ballooning, report suggests

A group representing Ontario's youth mental health providers says the waiting list for services has more than doubled in the past two years.

CMHO says underfunding, rising rates of anxiety and depression contributing to surge

Children's Mental Health Ontario says 28,000 children and youth are currently on waitlists for treatment across the province. (ESB Professional/Shutterstock)

A group representing Ontario's youth mental health providers says the waiting list for services has more than doubled in the past two years.

The finding comes in a report from Children's Mental Health Ontario released this morning.

The report says 28,000 children and youth are currently on wait lists for treatment across the province — up from roughly 12,000 in 2017.

CMHO CEO Kimberly Moran attributes the spike to rising rates of anxiety and depression among Ontario's young residents.

But she says chronic underfunding has also played a role and that Premier Doug Ford's government needs to ramp up spending to help address the wait times.

The Progressive Conservatives have promised to spend 1.9 billion dollars on mental health care over the next decade, but have not yet responded to the latest CMHO report.

The opposition New Democrats, meanwhile, say the report paints a picture of a youth mental health crisis.

The party's mental health and addictions critic, Bhutila Karpoche, has tabled a private members' bill that, if passed, would cap wait times for children and youth services at 30 days.

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