Improving mental health care is an issue that has been routinely acknowledged as a priority in the Canadian health care system, and recent commitments to strengthening mental health services have reinforced the need for investment. Unfortunately, the issues within health care provider human resources has not been addressed alongside these service investments. In particular, the understaffing of psychiatrists – medical doctors who are uniquely qualified to assess, diagnose and deliver mental health services across the continuum of illness severity – severely impacts service delivery. The availability of psychiatrists is inter-related with the availability and quality of mental health treatment and must be considered a core component to improving the mental health strategy in Ontario, and nationwide. The psychiatrist shortage, if left unaddressed, will perpetuate a continued lack of access to mental health services.
Delivered on behalf of Ontario’s psychiatrists, this report aims to quantify the shortage of psychiatrists and recommend actionable items to address the shortage of psychiatrists.