What addiction and mental health system: The status quo and a way forward
Individuals with mental illnesses and addictions are among the most marginalized in society, and many have complex needs. Yet the health and social services required to serve these individuals are fragmented or non-existent. The fact that there is no addiction and mental healthcare system in Ontario, given the well-documented need, is, in and of itself, a significant equity issue. In this session we will describe what evidence exists regarding the fragmentation of Ontario’s addiction and mental health system. This will be followed by a description of policies and processes that have led to excellent healthcare delivery in other care sectors in Ontario, such as for cancer, renal care, and cardiac and stroke care, and a discussion of whether there are lessons for mental health and addictions care. Finally, we reflect upon the important role individuals and family members with lived and living experience play in fully realizing a mental health and addictions system that serves the needs of Ontarians.