Elliott’s bill, partly inspired by Holly, calls for the creation of a select committee to address the “urgent need” for a comprehensive developmental services strategy to address the needs of Ontarians with intellectual disabilities and those dually diagnosed with intellectual disabilities plus mental illnesses.
We don't tell asthmatics to "get over" their conditions, nor do we tell people who are visually or hearing impaired to just suck it up and move on. We do, however, completely undermine the significance of mental illnesses and cognitive development. We stigmatize people as "dumb" or "crazy" and just assume they are doomed to a life on the periphery of society.
Mental illness and addictions cost the Ontario economy $39 billion annually. By 2020, mental illness will be the number one cost driver of disability claims. These claims, plus drug costs and employee assistance programs set the private sector back at least $2.1 billion annually. Our reactive at best, laissez faire at worst approach just isn't working.
Christine Elliot is the real deal - she understands and cares about mental health. She's not the only MPP who's passionate about this issue. We need to support them in making this Bill a reality and ensuring it's intent translates into meaningful action.
Really, we can't afford not to.