News & Events News & Announcements 2017 SSO's First Queen's Park Advocacy Day A Success

SSO's First Queen's Park Advocacy Day A Success

On May 16, SSO held our first ever advocacy day to raise awareness and call attention to critical issues affecting people living with schizophrenia and psychosis among elected officials. Along with staff, members of SSO’s board of directors and speakers’ bureau spent that day at Queen’s Park to share their experiences and encourage change to improve the mental health system.

The day consisted of thirteen meetings with key members of provincial parliament (MPPs) from all parties and/or their staff, including Minister of Children and Youth Services, Michael Coteau; Treasury Board President, Liz Sandals and Deputy Opposition Leader, Sylvia Jones. The day also served as a lead up to National Schizophrenia and Psychosis Awareness Day on May 24.

We spoke to these members about:
  • Greater investment in community mental health and addiction services for schizophrenia, including increased access to Early Psychosis Intervention, ACT team services, peer support services, supportive housing and psychotherapy
  • Increase current ODSP rates by 10 percent. Nearly half of people who receive ODSP have a mental health disability as a primary diagnosis and average social assistance rates fall well below standard poverty measures.
  • Greater support to expand access to programs which divert people with mental illness from the criminal justice system, including improved screening of people who may be eligible for court diversion, and increase mental health supports for people with mental illness in all Ontario’s correctional facilities. 
MPPs appreciated hearing the personal stories and the opportunity to learn more about the illness and current service gaps.

SSO received special recognition from Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Dr. Eric Hoskins who acknowledged SSO’s Lobby Day in the legislature during visitor introductions. His parliamentary assistant, John Fraser, gave a member’s statement applauding SSO’s work to support individuals, families and communities impacted by schizophrenia and psychosis, and highlighting National Schizophrenia and Psychosis Awareness Day.  

SSO will be making Lobby Day an annual event to ensure persons impacted by severe, persistent mental illness can get the help they need when and where they need it.