Charity lobbies for $100M national youth mental health program


OTTAWA — Canada desperately needs a federally funded National Youth Suicide Prevention Fund to help treat the increasing number of youngsters suffering from mental illness, according to a new campaign launched Thursday by the charity group Partners for Mental Health.
The Right By You campaign is urging the federal government to contribute $100 million to the fund over the next four years and is also calling on provincial governments to double, by 2016, the number of children receiving mental health services by contributing $1,000 per child, the equivalent of eight treatment sessions.
About 760 Canadian youngsters commit suicide each year and, says the group, almost all suffered from a mental illness such as depression..
In Ottawa, where young people can wait more than a year for mental health treatment, the demand is increasing dramatically.
In the past year, 2,900 children and youth visited the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) for a mental health emergency — an increase of 64 per cent since 2009-10. It is the highest number of pediatric emergency mental health visits in the province.
Currently, according to Partners for Mental Health, only 25 per cent of young Canadians who need mental health care actually get it.

“It’s a reflection of how underfunded mental health services are across the life span but particularly for children and youth” said CHEO’s psychiatry department chief Simon Davidson Thursday. Click here to continue reading.