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John Tory calls for national summit on mental health crisis



Toronto Mayor John Tory is calling for a national summit on mental health and says we are seeing a crisis whose effects are manifesting in Toronto every day.


Speaking to CP24 Breakfast Wednesday, Tory drew a line between mental health and some of the disturbing acts of violence the city has seen recently.


"Some people are shy about making a connection between some of the incidents we're seeing and mental health. I'm not shy about that," Tory said.


"Because at the end of the day, if you see someone push someone onto the subway tracks that they don't know or a random person, you see someone, an elderly person, get pushed into the street and lose their life to a complete stranger, those are incidents that are evidence of some issues that people have with mental health."


Tory said he was "shocked" by the prevalence of seemingly random acts of violence in the TTC recently, including incidents this week in which a group of people attacked two transit workers in Scarborough in a "swarm" and a young woman stabbed and seriously injured on a downtown streetcar in a seemingly random incident.


He said more needs to be done to address the mental health crisis and called for the prime minister and premiers to come together to find better solutions.


"The lack of mental health supports undoubtedly contributes to a range of problems we are seeing in cities across the country," Tory said in a statement. "Some of this may have been triggered by the pandemic experience, and it is time for us to take an urgent, in-depth look at this possible cause and effect."


He noted that demand for psychological services in Ontario grew by 50% last year and that, according to the Ontario Psychological Association, approximately 900,000 young people in the province are living with mental illness.

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