A recent poll conducted by INNOVATIVE on behalf of the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) has revealed that almost half of Ontarians are struggling with mental health challenges. The poll, which surveyed 1,265 Ontarians from February 17 to 20, found that nearly a quarter have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, while an additional 21% believe they have a condition but haven’t been diagnosed. Younger respondents are more likely to report an undiagnosed mental condition, highlighting the need for mental health awareness campaigns and outreach programs targeting younger demographics.
Access to mental health support is crucial for individuals grappling with mental health challenges, but the poll found that a majority of Ontarians who accessed mental health supports experienced some level of frustration while navigating the mental health system. The poll also revealed that waitlists for mental health supports are too long, the cost is too high, and needing a referral from a doctor was a barrier for those unable to access mental health supports. However, patient navigation services could be a key solution to these barriers. The poll found that 72% of respondents who have struggled to access mental health support or have considered accessing support but haven’t yet tried said they would be at least somewhat more likely to seek support if someone could guide them through the mental health system.