Today, Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park) is hosting the City of Toronto Mental Health Roundtable. The event will bring together first responders, community health experts and hospital leadership, in collaboration with provincial and federal partners. The Roundtable aims to address urgent community safety and public health needs in Toronto, by fostering dialogue and identifying immediate actions.
The Roundtable responds to findings presented in Toronto’s Population Health Profile 2023, which underscored worsening mental illnesses, mental health concerns and substance use issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, the Roundtable offers a vital opportunity for leaders from diverse systems to convene and explore avenues for enhanced collaboration. The goal is to ensure that Torontonians can access the necessary care and services when they need them most.
While the effects of mental illness and substance use are mainly felt at the local level, funding for healthcare and treatment falls under the purview of other orders of government. The City continues to advocate for its fair share of housing, mental health and substance use funding from provincial and federal partners. However, the Roundtable’s discussions will extend beyond funding requests, emphasizing the significance of building strong relationships and fostering a comprehensive understanding of the interrelated challenges faced by Torontonians.
Presenters from Toronto Public Health and the Toronto Police Service will share current data on mental health and substance use trends, as well as ongoing initiatives to enhance treatment, support and community safety. In addition, David T. Jones, Chief Behavioral Health Officer for the Illinois Department of Human Services, will deliver a keynote address, drawing on his extensive 25-year experience in the United States. Mr. Jones will share insights on developing multi-disciplinary coalitions and urban and suburban health systems, with a particular focus on improving access to care for child and adult mental health, substance use and 24-hour crisis services.
The Roundtable represents a collective commitment to enhancing community health and wellbeing in Toronto. Through collaborative efforts and the exchange of knowledge during events such as this one, the City, first responders, public health, community organizations and the healthcare sector aim to address the issues of stigma and discrimination faced by individuals grappling with mental illness and substance use. The ultimate goal is to establish effective connections between these individuals and evidence-based healthcare and social support systems.
The City recognizes the pressing need for increased funding and concerted efforts to enhance the social determinants of health for its residents. By investing in mental health, housing and substance use services, the City aims to elevate the well-being and outcomes of Torontonians, while building a more resilient and supportive community.
Toronto is home to more than three million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
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