Universal access to mental health services is a welcomed theme in this election. Family Service Ontario, a network of 44 agencies in communities across Ontario pride ourselves in our ability to provide responsive and timely counselling services, with a goal of ensuring no one is left behind. The pandemic has made this increasingly difficult.

For decades family service agencies have served thousands of Ontarians each year with walk-in and quick access clinics, psychotherapy to those with means, and for those without, we use charitable and fundraised dollars, a variety of government funding and sliding-scale fees. We have over 700 registered, professional therapists to meet the unique needs of all those we serve. But we, along with the other services that play a vital role in the mental health eco-system are simply not keeping up the growing demand we see in communities across Ontario. That is why we are encouraged to see the federal candidates’ platforms include mental health services.

Every day we experience firsthand individuals, youth and families who fall through the system’s gaps in care. Without a commitment by government to make mental health counselling available to all who need it the burden of suffering across our communities will continue to grow, as will the wait lists for services for those without benefits or means to pay.

To learn more about our network of agencies and the services available go to https://familyserviceontario.org/directory/