The following article examines the state of universal mental health care within Ontario. The article provides information regarding access to universally funded mental health care, specifically family physicians and psychiatrists while examining repeated emergency room visits for the most common mental health concerns in the province, anxiety, and depression. The study utilizes statistics and geographic information system (GIS) software to visually display the geographic trends of publicly funded mental health care in Canada’s most populated province. The Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) of 2012 provides data regarding Ontario's population, mental health diagnoses, and access to universal mental health care via family doctors and psychiatrists. Emergency room visits for repeated mental health concerns for six Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN)s are outlined within the province. The results yielded that mental health diagnoses and access to emergency care are increasing while the rates of psychiatry availability are decreasing per population. The article provides visual representations via maps to assist with the determination of funding and program development for mental health care in Ontario. Additionally, mental health care via provincially funded psychotherapy is recommended to alleviate the burden on emergency room care.
Keywords: Emergency Department; Mental Illness; Ontario; Psychiatrist