Ontario Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty and his wife Terri chat with employees at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto on Friday September 23, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
TORONTO - The Liberals are focusing on Ontario's children as they promise to boost mental health services in the province.
Premier Dalton McGuinty says his government would invest $257 million over the next three years to help 50,000 Ontario youth deal with mental health issues.
He says the Liberal plan targets faster access to services, more early identification of problems and a wider range of support.
McGuinty says he wants young people and their families to know "we're with them, all the way."
The Liberal plan would place mental health workers in schools and in the youth court system, add more short-term and crisis intervention in community agencies to cut wait lists and expand video-counselling services for children in remote areas.
McGuinty says his plan would also introduce culturally appropriate help for Aboriginal communities and would help youth transitioning between high school and post-secondary education.
He delivered his mental health platform at a construction site for Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health as his political rivals were gearing up for a leaders' debate on northern issues.
McGuinty has said scheduling issues prevented him from attending the debate in Thunder Bay.