Mental Health Care: Filling in the Gaps

Building all the social housing in the world won’t be enough to end homelessness if we don’t also provide supports in the community for those who need them.  In the context of homelessness, this has much to do with people experiencing an addiction and/or a mental illness.  Knowing that there are serious gaps and deficiencies in mental health services, in Ontario we have been reorienting services is a concerted way since 1998.

The latest step in the reorientation of mental health services in London is a report from the South West LHIN entitled “The Time is Now: A Plan for Enhancing Community-based Mental Health and Addiction Services in the South West LHIN“.  This plan follows other work that focused on acute care services, and focuses on supporting people living in the community.  What is striking about this report is rather than focusing solely on the better organization of care, many clear recommendations are made for increasing services, to fill in the gaps.  This means we need to make serious investments in mental health care in London, including:

  1. 1.0 FTE for community withdrawal services.
  2. 1 new ACT team, at 8.0 FTEs.
  3. 4 new FTEs for case managers.
  4. A mobile crisis support team at 8 FTEs.
  5. 20 new units of supportive housing per year over 5 years.
  6. 2 new FTEs of mental health counsellors.
It’s a lot of coin, but doesn’t begin to compare with the current costs of not adequately treating addictions and mental illness in the community.
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