Steve Lurie is the Executive Director of the CMHA Toronto, a post he has held since 1979.Steve is a strong voice for improved services for individuals living with mental health challenges and his letters to the editors of the Toronto Star and Globe & Mail calling for increased funding and improved services are regularly published. In 2016 he was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada, recognizing his contributions as a leading advocate and administrator in the field of mental health care.
February 13, 2018
Steve Lurie’s letter to the Globe & Mail in reference to the article, “Can Caroline Mulroney pull it off?”, published February 12, 2018.
Margaret Wente asserts that Christine Elliott’s policy position on more resources for mental health is simply a platitude. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ms. Elliott was the co-chair of the Ontario all party Legislative Subcommittee that found Ontario’s mental health system was in crisis and starved for resources. Following the publication of the report in 2010, she remained a strong advocate to improve access and quality of mental health services. The current PC platform commitment to match the increased federal funding for mental health services was developed based on consultation with party members and outside experts, and her support for it is consistent with her past advocacy to improve mental health services in the province. Hopefully the PC party will remain committed to this important plan and the other political parties will match or build on it.
Link to Globe & Mail article click here.
January 18, 2018
Steve Lurie’s letter to the Globe & Mail in reference to the article, “Record $100-million donation to CAMH underscores cultural shift on mental health,” published January 13, 2018.
One in five Canadians
Re Record $100-Million CAMH Donation Marks Shift On Mental Health (Jan. 12): The $100-million donation to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is evidence that mental health research has come out of the shadows 12 years after the Kirby Report.
Yet progress on the research front should not be mistaken for the gaps in access and care that have been fueled by structural stigma. While mental illness has a disease burden 1.5 times that of cancer and heart disease, the mental health share of health spending is in decline.
In 1979, it accounted for 11.3 per cent of Ontario’s health spending; it now accounts for 6.5 per cent. Even with the Health Accord money that will flow to the provinces over the next 10 years, the increased funding only get us 16 per cent of the way to the 9-per-cent target recommended by the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
Let’s hope the CAMH funding can be used to shine a light on treatment gaps and promising practices that can be spread and scaled to improve access and outcomes for people living with mental illness and addictions, and create the political and bureaucratic will to ensure that the one in five Canadians living with mental illness get equitable access to treatment and support.
Link to Globe & Mail article click here.
January 11, 2018
Steve Lurie’s letter to the Toronto Star in reference to the article, “Advocates call for better services in shelters, respite centres,” published January 11, 2018.
Ontario needs supportive housing for those with mental-health issues
Although the opening of more shelter beds and a call for expansion of mental-health and addiction services makes sense, targets need to be set to deliver more affordable and supportive housing.
Between 1975 and 1995, Ontario was producing 5,000 affordable and special-needs housing units per year. Since then, very few new units have been created. The recently announced federal housing strategy is a good start, but the province and the city will need to step up and match the funding.
There are currently more than 13,600 people on the wait list for supportive housing in Toronto, up from 700 in 2009. And 24,000 people in Toronto Community Housing need access to mental-health and addiction services to maintain their housing.
A plan has been submitted to the Ontario Ministry of Health to create 30,000 supportive housing units across the province over 10 years, at a cost of less than 1 per cent of the current health spending. Toronto would get at least 10,000 of these units.
This plan proposes development of 3,000 units per year, coordinated with municipal managers. It is doable. Let’s start this with an announcement in the upcoming provincial budget. There is no mental health without housing.
To read the article, click here.