OPSEU Calls on the McGuinty Government to “Walk the Talk on Mental Health”

TORONTO, March 8 /CNW/ – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union is calling upon the McGuinty government to “walk the talk on mental health.”

“We are tired of hearing about how this government is going to fix mental health care while front line workers lose their jobs and programs for patients
are getting cut,” says Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the 130,000-member OPSEU.

Recently the union has seen reductions in front line jobs at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health,
and Regional Mental Health in London and St. Thomas. In addition services and beds have been transferred from Brockville and North Bay.

Children’s Mental Health Ontario told pre-budget hearings that this year they expect to lose capacity to serve 2,000 children across the province.

The government continues to maintain services are being transferred to the community, but the situation is just as dire there.

The Salvation Army recently tried to close down a transitional mental health facility for lack of funds. Liberty Housing and Support Services was losing
money on operations and the building they occupied remains in need of major repairs.

“When the Health Restructuring Commission recommended reducing the number of institutional mental health beds, they were adamant that this could only take place if services were established in the community,” says Thomas. “The government never kept that commitment. The beds were cut, the services in the community never came close to replacing them.”

OPSEU is delivering the first batch of postcards signed by members to Dalton McGuinty asking the Premier to walk the talk on mental health.

For further information:

Rick Janson at 416-525-3324

Reproduced from http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/March2011/08/c8946.html