Ontario Increases Mental Health Funding for Postsecondary Students
February 09, 2021
The Ontario government is providing $7 million to help increase access to mental health and addiction services for postsecondary students during COVID-19. The funding will provide more supports for students, both on-campus and virtually and can also be used to address the needs of vulnerable and diverse groups, such as Indigenous students, LGBTQ students and students with disabilities. "We know that college and university can be a difficult time for our students, and that the COVID-19 outbreak has only increased those pressures on their mental health," said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. "That is why it is so important that we recognize the need for added support by investing more in mental health services. This added funding will give our colleges and universities the ability to expand services and better meet student needs ─ creating the best conditions possible for students to achieve their goals." Today's announcement is part of the Ministry of Health's more than $147 million in funding for mental health supports and builds upon the province's $19.25 million investment for publicly-assisted colleges and universities announced in October. The funding will help to immediately expand access for postsecondary students to the provincial mental health and addictions system in response to COVID-19. "We continue to hear from mental health professionals that our youth are under more pressure and more stress than any recent generation," said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. "In these unprecedented times, this investment will help to ensure that the mental health services they need are going to be there to support them, when they need it." Today's funding is part of Ontario's Roadmap to Wellness, the government's plan to build a connected and comprehensive mental health and addiction system that ensures children, youth, and adults in Ontario receive appropriate services where and when they need them.
Over the last several years the mental health needs of postsecondary students have increased dramatically in Ontario. According to the last National College Health Assessment survey of the Canadian student population (2019): 52 per cent of students reported feeling depressed, compared to 46 per cent in 2016; 69 per cent experienced anxiety; 12 per cent of Canada’s students had considered suicide, compared to 14 per cent in 2016; and, 2.8 per cent of students reported having attempted suicide.
In October 2020, the government announced $19.25 million in mental health supports for postsecondary students. The funding supports a variety of initiatives, including Good2Talk/Allo j’écoute ─ Ontario's bilingual mental health helpline that provides professional counselling, information and referrals to all students via telephone, text and live chat (new this year). It is available to all postsecondary students 24/7, 365 days a year.
Learn more about mental health services in Ontario.
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