Province announces mental health and addiction support for Ontario healthcare workers

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Published November 9, 2021 at 4:54 pm

The province is aiming to reduce the mental toll on frontline medical staff as the number of new COVID-19 cases begins to climb across Ontario.

On Tuesday, the province announced an investment of $12.4 million into mental health and addictions supports for all frontline health care workers across the province.

The additional funding will provide healthcare workers with rapid access to treatment options and supports over the next two years, including self-referral and intake services, weekly online peer discussion groups, and access to confidential support from clinicians.

Almost $2 million of the funding will be used for increased access to clinical psychologists specializing in trauma, mood and anxiety disorders and other psychological conditions through the COVID-19 Psychological Support program.

Speaking at the announcement in Brampton on Tuesday, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott said the mental health supports are a way for the province to give back to health care workers who made sacrifices “in our darkest hour.”

“They were there for us, demonstrating bravery and resilience – often putting themselves in harms way to care for the sick and vulnerable members of our communities,” Elliot said.

Some healthcare workers have received threats as a result of mandatory vaccination requirements at some Ontario hospitals, and Elliot said law enforcement officers are “ready to proceed if necessary.”

“Our frontline healthcare workers have done so much for us over the last 20 months, the last thing they need is to receive threats for the incredible work that they’re doing,” she said.

As the number new cases are on the rise across the province due to colder weather and more people gathering inside, Elliot urged Ontarians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to ensure the province’s healthcare system won’t get overwhelmed.

“You can still contract COVID, but chances are you won’t be hospitalized. And even if you are hospitalized you won’t end up in an intensive care unit,” Elliot said of vaccination. “It will save your life.”

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