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The Province recently announced it would be investing $28 million in mental health and addictions organizations to provide care closer to home.

According to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there will be a province-wide registry of mental health beds to connect those experiencing a mental health crisis with the closest available bed.

“We have all been touched by mental health and addiction challenges — whether through a friend, a co-worker, a family member or our own experience,” said Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

“By continuing to invest in community services, we’re helping to connect people with the support they need closer to home through settings that are more culturally appropriate and personal. These investments will improve the lives of people experiencing mental illness and addictions challenges — and the families that help care for them.”

The supported services, as a result of the investment, will include:

• Increased access to services, such as supportive housing, short-term crisis support beds, peer support groups and treatment programs;

• Shorter wait times for care through the new registry of inpatient mental health beds. It will also provide doctors, first responders and emergency departments with up-to-date information about available inpatient beds across the province;

• Improved transitions between care teams so people do not have to tell their story multiple times;

• More early intervention initiatives to reduce repeat visits to emergency departments, such as expanding the number of early psychosis intervention teams to help people early on after onset of psychosis.

The next phase of Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions Strategy includes spending $138 million over three years for community agencies to support improvements to mental health and addictions services, through Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs).

According to the Ministry of Health, each of the 14 LHINs is investing an additional $2 million for 2014-15 in community-based mental health and addictions services.

By 2017, it is expected the Province will have increased annual funding for mental health and addictions by a total of $172 million since it launched its Mental Health and Addictions Strategy in 2011.

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