Ont. mental health relegated to shadows: Hudak

PC Leader Tim Hudak and PC MPP Christine Elliott visit Youthdale Treatment Centre in Toronto on...

PC Leader Tim Hudak and PC MPP Christine Elliott visit Youthdale Treatment Centre in Toronto on Tuesday, Feb. 5 2013, to announce mental health-care services will be a priority in their coming white paper on health care. (Antonella Artuso/QMI Agency)

Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

, Last Updated: 7:18 PM ET

TORONTO - Ontario's patchwork mental health care system is failing too many patients, PC Leader Tim Hudak says.

"The reality is for far too long we treated mental health and addiction as an afterthought. It's been relegated to the shadows of our health care system," Hudak said Tuesday. "People suffering from mental illness suffer in silence, often stigmatized, blamed and misunderstood.

"It's time that we in Ontario treated mental illness as important as physical illness," Hudak said during a visit to a Toronto mental health treatment facility for youth.

The Ontario Tories will release a new policy white paper this week titled A Healthier Ontario which calls for a co-ordinated mental health care system.

A 2010 Ontario committee that investigated mental health and addiction issues recommended the development of a coherent mental health system, one that ensured people had access to services -- regardless of where they lived in the province and at all stages of life, Tory MPP Christine Elliott said.

OHIP spends millions of dollars a year sending young people to the U.S. for treatment they can't get here, Elliott said.


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