Ontario Association of Social Workers Welcomes Government’s Focus on Improving Mental Health and Addiction Supports in 2019 Budget
Original Press Release April 12, 2019 through CNW
TORONTO - Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) is pleased to see a continued commitment by the Government of Ontario to make significant investments in mental health and addictions services in yesterday’s budget.
OASW specifically welcomes an investment of $174 million this year and $3.8 billion in funding over the next 10 years to build a comprehensive mental health and addictions system.
“Investments made in mental health and addictions services as well as a commitment to designing a system of care that is accessible, responsive and grounded in a robust data and measurement framework, is very promising and long overdue,” said Joan MacKenzie Davies, CEO, OASW. “We know that investments in mental health and addiction are imperative to improving the health and well-being of over 2 million Ontarians who visit their doctor annually for these concerns.”
Increasing access to community based mental health providers such as Registered Social Workers, who are trained to respond to the mental health needs of Ontarians, will improve outcomes and have a positive effect on the challenges currently being experienced in health care such as long-wait times, patient flow and return visits to hospital, all significant contributors to hall way medicine.
The Association also highlights that there is a strong correlation between poverty and mental illness. Therefore, OASW recommends that any cost-savings that will be achieved as a result of changes to Ontario’s social assistance system be done through cutting the red tape, administrative integration, and modernizing service delivery, not through reduced assistance to recipients, particularly those who live with chronic illness and disability.
“OASW looks forward to working with the Government of Ontario to improve the mental health of all Ontarians during this important period of visioning and redesign,” concluded MacKenzie Davies. “By working together we can help build an integrated health care delivery model that will ensure individuals get the care they require.”
OASW is the voice of social work in Ontario. It is a voluntary, bilingual, non-profit association representing approximately 5,700 social workers. All members have a university degree in social work at the bachelor, master or doctoral level. OASW works to actively speak on behalf of social workers on issues of interest to the profession and advocates for the improvement of social policies and programs directly affecting social work practice and client groups served.