QUEEN’S PARK — MPP Bhutila Karpoche (Parkdale—High Park) will re-table her bill on Thursday calling for the Ford government to review the status of mental health care for new parents in Ontario and expand available treatment, supports and awareness of perinatal mental health disorders.
If passed, the bill would compel the Minister of Health to implement an action plan to prevent and treat illnesses like post-partum anxiety and depression and proclaim an annual Perinatal Mental Health Day each May to raise awareness for these issues.
First tabled last year, Karpoche’s proposed legislation was wiped from the legislative record when the Ford government prorogued parliament earlier this year. The bill was originally inspired by the outpouring of responses Karpoche received from fellow parents after speaking in the legislature in 2019 — while holding her newborn son — about the struggles many new parents face after birth.
"I was flooded with responses from parents sharing stories of suffering in silence with post-partum depression, stigma, and a lack of community-based supports,” Karpoche said.
“The physical recovery from childbirth is already difficult, and the process of mental health recovery is equally harrowing. Birthing parents must try to heal physically and mentally from the childbirth experience while enduring sleepless nights and managing the exhausting and often anxiety-inducing day-to-day care of a newborn.”
For years, mental health and addictions services in Ontario were underfunded by the Liberals, and Doug Ford’s Conservatives have cut rather than investing in mental health and public health.
“New, expectant, and bereaved parents who are struggling with their mental health deserve better,” said Karpoche.