Media Releases

Helping Ontarians living with mental and physical illnesses

January 28, 2014

Ontario Teaming Up With Mental Health Leaders to Create Medical Psychiatry Alliance

TORONTO, ON - Ontario will assist up to 500,000 peo­ple across the province that are either at-risk of, or cur­rent­ly liv­ing with, both phys­i­cal and men­tal ill­ness­es get the care and treat­ment they need over the next six years.

Ontario is join­ing forces with The Cen­tre for Addic­tion and Men­tal Health (CAMH), The Hos­pi­tal for Sick Chil­dren (Sick­Kids), Tril­li­um Health Part­ners, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to and a pri­vate donor to pro­vide a total of $60 mil­lion in new fund­ing for the cre­ation of the Med­ical Psy­chi­a­try Alliance.

The gov­ern­ment will help the Med­ical Psy­chi­a­try Alliance mem­bers to lead the ini­tia­tive, which will sup­port:

  • Ensur­ing patients are prop­er­ly diag­nosed by devel­op­ing new screen­ing and diag­nos­tic tools.
  • Treat­ing phys­i­cal and men­tal ill­ness­es simul­ta­ne­ous­ly so patients and their fam­i­lies receive the best care.
  • Devel­op­ing spe­cial­ized clin­i­cal train­ing for med­ical stu­dents focused on the man­age­ment of co-occur­ring phys­i­cal and men­tal ill­ness.
  • Cre­at­ing a sim­u­la­tion cen­tre for stu­dents and pro­fes­sion­als to learn and test new approach­es to treat­ing phys­i­cal and men­tal ill­ness using actor patients in real­is­tic sce­nar­ios.
  • Research­ing and test­ing new ways to deliv­er psy­chi­atric care at home.

Help­ing peo­ple with both phys­i­cal and men­tal ill­ness sup­ports Ontario’s Com­pre­hen­sive Men­tal Health and Addic­tions Strat­e­gy and Ontario’s Action Plan for Health Care, pro­vid­ing the right men­tal health care, at the right time and in the right place.  This is part of the Ontario gov­ern­men­t’s eco­nom­ic plan to invest in peo­ple, invest in infra­struc­ture and sup­port a dynam­ic and inno­v­a­tive busi­ness cli­mate.


“Men­tal ill­ness is often hid­den with­in the symp­toms of phys­i­cal dis­or­ders, with treat­ment focus­ing on phys­i­cal ill­ness while the men­tal ill­ness remains undi­ag­nosed and untreat­ed.  That’s why this ini­tia­tive and Bell Let’s Talk Day are so impor­tant – inter­ven­ing ear­ly and get­ting patients the treat­ment they need will help peo­ple liv­ing with these ill­ness­es recov­er bet­ter and live healthy lives.”

— Deb Matthews, Min­is­ter of Health and Long-Term Care

“The lives of peo­ple with seri­ous men­tal ill­ness are 20 years short­er than those with­out men­tal ill­ness. Our patients suc­cumb to unrec­og­nized or poor­ly man­aged dia­betes, heart dis­ease and can­cer far more often than the rest of the pop­u­la­tion. The Med­ical Psy­chi­a­try Alliance will address this inequity, cre­at­ing a mod­el of coor­di­nat­ed and com­pre­hen­sive care for our most seri­ous­ly ill patients.”

— Dr. Cather­ine Zahn, Pres­i­dent and CEO, CAMH

“This gen­er­ous sup­port will make a sig­nif­i­cant and last­ing impact on men­tal health care in the province. Chil­dren with med­ical and psy­chi­atric ill­ness­es have com­plex needs that span their devel­op­ment and can neg­a­tive­ly impact their aca­d­e­m­ic achieve­ment, social adjust­ment and fam­i­ly func­tion­ing. The Med­ical Psy­chi­a­try Alliance will ensure access to the right lev­el of care, at the right time and place through improved col­lab­o­ra­tion amongst med­ical and men­tal health ser­vices with­in the hos­pi­tal and greater com­mu­ni­ty.  It will ulti­mate­ly lead to improved qual­i­ty of life for chil­dren and their fam­i­lies.”

—   Dr. Michael Apkon, Sick­Kids Pres­i­dent and CEO

“Our patients, their fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ty need more sup­port to address the often life-long chal­lenges of com­bined med­ical and psy­chi­atric issues. This Alliance will be a pow­er­ful engine of change that will make a dif­fer­ence in their dai­ly lives.”

—   Michelle DiE­manuele, Pres­i­dent & CEO, Tril­li­um Health Part­ners

“The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to has a long and proud his­to­ry of lead­er­ship and inno­va­tion in the edu­ca­tion of men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als, and of col­lab­o­ra­tive lead­er­ship in men­tal health care, all informed by ground-break­ing research in the field. We are delight­ed to be a found­ing part­ner in this ini­tia­tive to improve dra­mat­i­cal­ly the qual­i­ty of health care for the most vul­ner­a­ble in our soci­ety, and for all Ontar­i­ans.”

—   Pro­fes­sor Mer­ic Gertler, Pres­i­dent, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to

“The Med­ical Psy­chi­atric Alliance will allow patients to access appro­pri­ate care soon­er, for all of their health care needs. For too long we’ve ignored all the pieces that con­tribute to a healthy life. Now with this ini­tia­tive men­tal health will no longer take a back seat to phys­i­cal health.”

—   Pri­vate donor


Ontario is pro­vid­ing the Med­ical Psy­chi­a­try Alliance with up to $20 mil­lion over the next six years to lead the ini­tia­tive.

  • A pri­vate phil­an­thropist is donat­ing $20 mil­lion to the work of the Med­ical Psy­chi­a­try Alliance over the same peri­od. The mem­bers of the Alliance are con­tribut­ing $20 mil­lion as well.
  • In Ontario, over 1.3 mil­lion peo­ple expe­ri­ence phys­i­cal ill­ness and men­tal ill­ness at the same time.
    • Up to 25 per cent of peo­ple liv­ing with chron­ic health issues also live with men­tal ill­ness­es that con­tribute to their phys­i­cal ill­ness.
    • Ontario is announc­ing this invest­ment on Bell Canada’s Let’s Talk Day, which rais­es funds for men­tal health aware­ness across Cana­da.
    • On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell Cana­da will donate 5 cents to men­tal health ini­tia­tives on behalf of cus­tomers for every text mes­sage sent, long dis­tance call made, or tweet using #Bel­l­Let­sTalk.


For pub­lic inquiries call Ser­viceOn­tario, INFO­line at 1–866-532‑3161 (Toll-free in Ontario only)

Disponible en français

For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:

Saman­tha Grant
Minister’s Office
Phone: 416–326-4905

David Jensen
Min­istry of Health and Long-Term Care
Phone: 416–314-6197