The Ontario government is investing up to $10.5 million to immediately expand the mental health Secure Treatment Program for the province’s most vulnerable children and youth. This funding will enhance access to these services and add up to 24 new beds at the Syl Apps Youth Centre in Oakville and at the Roberts/Smart Centre in Ottawa. By expanding this program, an additional 52 children and youth with complex needs will receive direct mental health and addictions support each year.
“Our government is continuing to fulfill our promise of making mental health and addictions a priority, and ensure Ontarians have the services they deserve – when and where they need them,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Today’s investment in Ontario’s Secure Treatment Program will help vulnerable children, youth and their families in their time of need and allow them to access supports faster.”
Ontario’s Secure Treatment Program provides intensive care for children and youth experiencing acute and complex mental health and/or addictions challenges that may put them at risk of self-harm or harm to others. The expanded Secure Treatment Program will address gaps in care and improve access while decreasing existing wait lists and extensive wait times.
The Syl Apps Youth Centre is expected to accept additional children and youth by the summer, while the Roberts/Smart Centre is expected to be fully implemented in 2022-2023. The province is also increasing annual base funding by 10 per cent at the Syl Apps Youth Centre, the Roberts/Smart Centre, as well as the Youthdale Treatment Centre in Toronto.
“This much-needed funding will help expand Ontario’s Secure Treatment Program, so that our most vulnerable children and youth can take that next important step in their journey towards mental wellness,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “By investing today, we are closer to reaching our shared goal of building a modern, connected and integrated mental health and addictions system for the future. Our government remains fully committed to creating a system where all Ontarians, young and old, have access to the highest quality supports that meet their unique needs.”
“The Secure Treatment Program is an essential part of the child and youth mental health system serving children and youth experiencing high-need and complex mental health issues who require intensive and in some cases life-saving treatment. I know firsthand just how important this investment will be to other Ontario kids and their families, who right now are facing long wait times for secure treatment and as a result often end up in the hospital in crisis,” said Kimberly Moran, Chief Executive Officer, Children’s Mental Health Ontario. “This is a critical step and we appreciate the Ministry of Health putting dedicated focus on this group of vulnerable children and youth, and look forward to continuing our work together to build up a comprehensive and connected mental health system for children, youth and families.”