February 12, 2019 1:24 pm
Updated: February 12, 2019 9:43 pm

Ontario NDP urges government to create Ministry of Mental Health

Ontario NDP MPP Bhutila Karpoche takes a call in her office in Toronto on September 16, 2018.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
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The Ontario NDP are urging the Doug Ford government to immediately create a Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions.

“The mental health system in Ontario is fragmented and dysfunctional, and the failures of the system are tearing families apart and hurting people who need help,” Parkdale-High Park MPP Bhutila Karpoche, the NDP’s critic for Mental Health and Addictions, said in a statement.

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“Folks fall through the cracks. They wait for months for the treatment and services they urgently need. They often have to reach a crisis point before they get help at all. People deserve so much better.”

Karpoche also said she stands with mental health advocates like Noah Irvine who has written to the government to push for more supports.

In a January 21st letter sent to Christine Elliott, the minister of health and long term care, Irvine said, “We are in a crisis. We need the government to assign a minister with the sole responsibility to deal with the crisis. We need leadership.”

During the provincial election campaign, NDP leader Andrea Horwath said she would create a dedicated Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions if she became premier.

READ MORE: Ontario NDP possibly exposed identity of government employee who leaked documents

The NDP recently released a series of documents that were leaked on the government’s plans on healthcare reform. The party distributed a draft bill which the government is working on that would create a super agency to oversee healthcare in the province.

WATCH: Newly released government documents leaked to the NDP show the Ford government is much further along in their plans to reform healthcare than originally disclosed. Travis Dhanraj reports.

Elliott said the bill has “not been finalized” but added, “We know from the people of Ontario the system is not working for them when you have 32,000 people in this province waiting for long term care beds, when you have 1,200 people waiting every single day [to receive] health care in hospital hallways and in storage rooms and you have thousands of people waiting for mental health and addiction services, you know that there is something wrong with the entire system.”

Global News has reached out to the Minister’s office for comment on calls for the creation of a dedicated ministry handling mental health and addictions but has not received a reply.

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