Letter to the Editor

Solutions are needed so no one is left behind.

Re: Mental health services dealing with rising calls for help, as staff are leaving, Mon., Feb. 21, 2022

Thank you for your article highlighting the current challenges within our mental-health system. Family service agencies are also experiencing difficulties in keeping and recruiting staff and an increase in service demand combined with a decrease in funding. The result is longer wait times, or in some cases, the elimination of services altogether.

Family service agencies play a vital role in Ontario’s mental-health eco-system. Individuals, couples, and families come to us for a variety of reasons, but often because the services they need do not exist for those without the means to pay for a private therapist. The available charitable dollars for family service agencies have plummeted, with some agencies losing all charitable funding used to catch those who fall through the cracks in our system.

With years of mandated wage freezes, no funding increases, and a decline in charitable dollars, family service agencies have struggled to keep up with competitive salaries. As a result, many agencies are bleeding staff, while the demand for service has doubled.

Those most affected by the pandemic are also our most vulnerable—and the ones left behind in accessing services, because the counsellors are not there to provide it, and the funding is not there to keep them. As a network, we are committed to work together, with our community partners and government to find solutions so no one is left behind.