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Open Minds, Healthy Minds, Ontario’s Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy

Open Minds, Healthy Minds, Ontario’s Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, is a plan to support mental health throughout life, from childhood to old age, and to provide the integrated services and supports that Ontarians need if they experience a mental illness or addictions. One of the biggest challenges is that mental health and addictions services are fragmented, spread across several ministries and offered in a variety of care settings.

Open Minds, Healthy Minds addresses this complicated system by striving to keep the person at the centre and providing the support they need to direct their own care and build on their strengths. The strategy is aligned with the Excellent Care for All initiative, which encourages the use of best practices to organize health care delivery around the person in the most efficient, integrated way possible.

OBJECTIVES

The long-term, comprehensive strategy reinforces Ontario’s efforts on The Poverty Reduction Strategy, Early Learning Strategy and the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy with four guiding goals:

  1. Identify mental health and addictions problems early and intervene
    • Expected Results:
      • More Ontario youth will graduate from high school and move on to post-secondary education
      • More Ontarians with mental health and addictions problems will be identified early and receive appropriate services and supports.
  2. Create healthy, resilient, inclusive communities
    • Expected Results:
      • Less stigma and discrimination in public services and in the workplace
      • More community supports for people with lived experience and their families
      • More people with mental health and/or addictions issues employed and integrated in their communities
      • More people living in safe, stable homes and fewer living in shelters or hospitals
  3. Improve mental health and well-being for all Ontarians
    • Expected Results:
      • Lower prevalence of mental health and addictions problems in Ontario
      • Fewer attempted and completed suicides
  4. Provide timely, high-quality, integrated, person-directed health and other human services
    • Expected Results
      • Shorter wait times for community and hospital-based services
      • Fewer repeat emergency department visits and unplanned hospital readmission
      • More appropriate service linkages and referrals from the justice system
      • Better mental health outcomes
      • Better quality of life for people with a mental illness and/or addictions, and for their families
      • Lower per-person cost of mental health and addictions services

The first three years will start with children and youth. The focus will be on early intervention and support to protect children from the many associated costs of mental illness and addictions and help steer them on the road to safe futures. The strategy will: Provide children, youth and families with fast access to high quality services; Identify and intervene in child and youth mental health and addictions issues early; Close critical service gaps for vulnerable children and youth, children and youth at key transition points, and those in remote communities.

EVALUATION

The government will work with leaders, experts and stakeholders to:

  • Develop performance measures for monitoring and public reporting on wait times, client experience, health outcomes and quality of life, service continuity and integration
  • Standardize public reporting across the province, by region and by agency
  • Require all mental health and addictions agencies to publicly post annual quality improvement plans
  • Every two years, the government will work with the Advisory Council to publish and post a public progress report on the Comprehensive Strategy

 

The full version of Open Minds, Healthy Minds is available here.