CMHA Durham calls for significant funding increase to community mental health and addictions this Bell Let’s Talk Day

(Oshawa, Jan. 25, 2023) – Canadian Mental Health Associations (CMHAs) across Ontario are calling on the province for a substantial, immediate and ongoing base funding increase for the community mental health and addictions sector on this Bell Let’s Talk Day.

This year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day is focused on committing to significant action to create positive change in mental health and addictions care. For Ontario’s CMHAs, a base budget increase from the government is the meaningful action required right now to improve the community mental health and addictions sector.

“We need critical infrastructure investments to maintain the highest quality of care for the individuals we serve,” said Sheryl Wedderburn, CEO of CMHA Durham “But decades of underfunding and the increased need for service are having devastating impacts on how we can best support people in need.” To meet the current and growing demand for community mental health and addictions services, each CMHA branch needs at least an eight percent increase in base funding as an immediate emergency stabilization investment.

For all CMHAs across the province, an eight percent increase is under $30 million. For the entire community mental health and addictions sector, this comes to $125 million. A base budget increase will help CMHA Durham and other community-based providers address operating costs that increase annually, deliver more services, and reduce wait times while managing high rates of stress, burnout, recruitment and retention among employees. Without a base budget increase to help shore up operations and cover operating costs that increase annually, CMHAs will have to keep making tough decisions on how to retain employees who are often underpaid, burned out and stressed while also providing much-needed services to the community.

“CMHA Durham adjusts resources and redeploys employees but struggles to meet increased demand in service with our current budget allocations,” said Wedderburn. “We are simply challenged to do more, or provide the same level of service when we aren’t adequately resourced.”

Fast facts:

  • 66 percent of resignations at CMHA Ontario branches over the last two years have been salary-based.
  • 1 in 4 Ontarians have sought mental health support during the pandemic.
  • Ontario’s 2020-21 health budget was $59.8 billion. Of that, $1.56 billion or less than three percent was allocated to community-based mental health and addiction care.

About Canadian Mental Health Association Durham

Canadian Mental Health Association Durham is an integrated community mental health and primary care hub that has been providing mental health services to Durham Region for over 60 years. During that time, it has evolved to provide a broad range of services to individuals and their families experiencing mental health challenges, from information and education to case management, housing, and primary healthcare.


For media inquiries:

Alec King

Communications and Public Relations Lead

Canadian Mental Health Association Durham Email:

Phone: (905) 436-8760 x 182