Mental health campaign in Guelph, Ont. wants municipal candidates to #GetReal on the issue

Front entrance of the Grove Wellington Guelph office at U of G.

Two Ontario organizations want voters to raise the issue of mental health in the October municipal election.

The Grove Wellington Guelph and the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington are partnering for a campaign called #GetReal.

It aims to encourage residents to leverage their vote to make sure mental health and wellness are on the municipal ballot, and demand action on the current mental health crisis in the community.

“With the municipal election coming up, we thought it was a good time to talk about how we engage our local and provincial politicians in prioritizing children and youth mental health,” said CMHA WW executive director Krista Sibbilin.

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“We are hoping that we will see the community come together, and begin to collaborate and look at options that are available across all sectors to support mental health.”

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“We are seeing a record number of youth coming through our doors on a regular basis,” said Cyndy Forsyth, executive director of the Grove. “CMHA Waterloo Wellington is seeing a record number of people on their waiting lists. In order for politicians to understand what is going on on the ground, they need to hear from people.”

Both organizations say demand for mental health services has increased as pandemic measures began to ease. They say four out of five youths are currently struggling with mental health.

“Demand for mental health and wellness support for all ages has increased by 40 per cent compared to pre-COVID-19 volumes,” Forsyth said. “We really need to look at what this pandemic as done for wellness in our community and how we can really address it.”

There is a website where people can go to learn more about the #GetReal campaign.

“The more we are involved, the more people that are connected, the more people that are aware of the concerns, we would build a stronger community in order to support our children, youth, and families across the board,” Sibbilin said.

The municipal election in Ontario is on Oct. 24.

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