Sports & Health

Let’s talk about mental health and addictions

Addictions and mental health are always top of mind for the Ontario Health Team (OHT).

It’s an important issue facing our communities today, and the conversations continue as World Mental Health Day takes place on Monday, Oct. 10.

While the World Health Organization aims to address mental health on a global scale, the OHT wants to be sure that we are talking about mental health and addictions locally so that individuals can access the care they need close to home.

According to data collected in collaboration with Ontario Health, in 2019-2020 over 600 people spent at least one overnight stay at Oak Valley Health’s Markham Stouffville Hospital due to a mental health or addictions-related concern.

These numbers are growing, and Oak Valley Health and community agencies are seeing more and more individuals seeking care as the pandemic continues. Ontario’s monthly overdose deaths rose 79 per cent in 2020, with 74 per cent of Ontarians experiencing increased mental health and addiction challenges.

“Many individuals have experienced severe social isolation, food insecurity, housing insecurity and employment insecurity,” said Penny Marrett, executive director for Addictions Services Central Ontario. “The impact of not having basic needs being met creates an increasingly challenging situation for many individuals, which may mean an increase in their mental health problems and/or substance use.”

Guided by the Ministry of Health objectives, the Eastern York Region North Durham OHT is working to improve access to mental health and addiction programs and services to better serve the community.

As part of the OHT’s commitment to serve the community, a Mental Health and Addictions Wellness Centre was established in late 2021 to enable people working and/or living in Markham, Stouffville and/or North Durham to more easily access addictions and/or mental health programs and services.  A number of partners came together to establish this centre and anyone five years and up can be served.

“To help address the increasing mental health and addiction concerns, the Mental Health and Addictions Wellness Centre was established,” Marrett said. “This Wellness Centre is open to individuals seeking addictions medicine support, harm reduction education and awareness, case management, counselling and referrals to other community services.”

Let’s all make mental health and addictions a priority. Visit for more information on its mental health and addictions service offerings, book an appointment online or call 905-758-2279 to book an appointment with its Mental Health and Addictions Wellness Centre today.


Story submitted by Eastern York Region North Durham (EYRND) Ontario Health Team.

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