The province is embarking on a massive health system change with Patients First and its transition plans. The system will, as a result, look very different in three, five and even 10 years. It is unclear, though, where and how mental health and addictions services will fit into this increasingly integrated picture. Given that the Province of Ontario and federal government underfund the mental health and addictions services and system, there is reason to worry that this part of the health system will not receive the careful attention it needs to grow and function well. Across the province, people need the right mental health service in the right place, at the right time. The core basket of services must be available to all. Whether you live in a rural or urban area, everyone needs rapid access to evidence-based care.
Patients First is driven by evidence-based decision-making about investments, access to services, and system change. To ensure the Patients First strategy carefully considers the mental health sector, the sector needs to provide the evidence-based research to support decision-making. The OMHF developed this research in collaboration with sector leaders, including Addictions and Mental Health Ontario and Canadian Mental Health Association.
For the 2016-2017 funding cycle, the OMHF is seeking innovative proposals (grants, fellowships and studentships) that address this challenge. We encourage with mental health agencies. Researchers should ensure that their statement about the mental health relevance of their proposed research is clearly stated. The review committee still looks to the researchers to be as explicit as possible. They should consider the following platforms in making their case:
- Improve mental health and well-being of all Ontarians
- Create healthy, resilient, inclusive communities
- Identify mental health and addictions problems early and intervene
- Provide timely, high quality, integrated, person-directed health and other human services
- Access - Providing the right care for mental health and addiction
- Connect - Deliver better coordinated and integrated care in the community, closer to home
- Inform - Expanding mental health programs in schools and workplaces
- Protect - More public reports on health system performance, more innovative approaches based on evidence, expanding patient engagement