Monday, June 24, 2024

Government and Industry Must Work Together to Address Mental Health Action Gap

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The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) is urging government and industry to continue working together as Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close to close the gap between the number of businesses that believe investing in mental health is important and those that actually take action.

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According to Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, “Our 2023 Ontario Economic Report shows that close to 80% of businesses consider employee mental health to be essential to their organizational success.” At the same time, there is still a mental health action gap; only 37% of businesses claim to have a formal strategy in place to support the mental health and well-being of their employees. Businesses across the province were significantly more likely to implement mental health and wellness strategies during the pandemic. Despite the fact that mental health issues have existed for a long time, the COVID-19 pandemic made it even more urgent to address them. As a result, this progress has been hampered as many businesses were forced to redirect resources toward managing inflation, labor shortages, and operational costs. Specialists feature the rise of an emotional well-being “reverberation pandemic” as Ontarians explore elevated vulnerability, nervousness, and burnout. Individuals, the healthcare system, and the economy as a whole are significantly impacted by these issues.

“Coordinated effort between industry, local area associations, and government is fundamental to tending to the psychological wellness challenges we face,” said the Hon. Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Michael Tibollo. Our government will continue to collaborate with stakeholders to improve access and connect people to the supports they require, as outlined in Budget 2023. This includes an additional $425 million over the course of the next three years.

The OCC will lead a series of meetings with our members and mental health experts in the coming months, building on our previous efforts to close the mental health action gap. In order to effectively address challenges related to mental health and addiction, these consultations aim to identify specific obstacles, initiatives, and policy recommendations. Together with the Ontario Government, the OCC intends to support business capacity and ensure that individuals have access to the services they require.

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