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Why Advocate for Mental Health of Ontario’s Children?


Numbers of Children in Need:
 1 in 5 (18.1%) children and youth in Ontario had at least one diagnosable mental health issue, and two thirds of these children have two or more mental health issues. That equals 654,000 children in Ontario who would require mental health treatment.

Source:Ontario Child Health Study, 1989

Only 1 in 6 children who are in need of specialized therapeutic services actually receive them. Treatment has proven to be 70% effective. Effectiveness of treatment decreases the longer treatment is withheld.

A more recent study based on 117,000 children receiving treatment in children’s mental health centres in Ontario in 1997 would be that less than 25% of children in need are receiving treatment in the formal care and treatment system.

A 1994 survey by the Ontario Ministry of Health found that 25% of youth (ages 15 – 24) have at least one psychiatric disorder.

Do you know that:

    • Despite the fact that 75% more children are served by children’s mental health services in Ontario than 5 years ago, funding has been cut by 8% over that same period.
    • Family poverty doubles the chance of violence and mental health issues for children of those families.
    • At any given time, 7,000 children are waiting an average of 6 months to get service.
    • 8% of young offenders show evidence of mental health problems.
    • 10% of the cost of child and youth crime in Ontario, an annual cost of $280 million, can be attributed to inadequate mental health care.
    • If only half the children receiving treatment complete high school, $232 million would be returned to government in reduced social assistance and more taxpayers – nearly offsetting the annual expenditures for children’s mental health services in Ontario.
    • Of children seen by Children’s Aid Societies, 62% of these children had some evidence of emotional and mental health issues; 39% had developmental delays; 46% had pervasive behavioural problems; 61% had limited acceptance by caregivers; 69% of caregivers showed evidence of mental health problems; and only 32% of caregivers had realistic expectations of their children.
    • Canada’s youth suicide rate has increased 300% in the last 30 years and our suicide rate for boys aged 10 – 14 doubled during the same period.  Our youth suicide rate is the third highest in the industrial world and suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15 – 24 year old Canadians after accidents.


Links or Useful Resources for more FACTS AND STATISTICS:
Canadian Mental Health Association-Ontario –
Quick Facts: Mental Illness & Addiction in Canada – (2)
Parents For Children’s Mental Health – (3)