Ontario increases mental health funding for post-secondary students

By Lindsay Advocate

Fleming College

The Ontario government is providing a total of $695,894 to help increase access to mental health and addiction services for students at Fleming College and Trent University. The funding will strengthen community partnerships, increase the number of mental health workers and programs, and immediately expand access for students to the provincial mental health and addictions system during COVID-19.

The government is providing Sir Sanford Fleming College with $336,826 and Trent University with $359,068.

“Students continue to face extreme challenges, and the pandemic has heightened the stress and anxiety that many of our students face,” said Fleming College president Maureen Adamson. “We are tremendously grateful to Minister Scott, MPP Smith and MPP Piccini for their generosity. This funding will empower us to enhance our supports for mental health and addictions, and address the needs of vulnerable and diverse groups, both on-campus and virtually.”

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.

– 8 per cent of students reported having attempted suicide.

The government’s total investment of $26.25 million for mental health supports for postsecondary students in 2020-21 represents an increase of $10.25 million over last year.

The funding supports a variety of initiatives, including Good2Talk/Allo j’écoute, Ontario’s bilingual mental health helpline which provides professional counselling and 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.

This funding is part of the province’s total investment of $26.25 million for mental health supports for postsecondary students in 2020-21. It will support more services for students 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.

Providing mental health supports for postsecondary students 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.

“Increasing access to mental health supports for students is more important than ever,” said Laurie Scott, MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock. “This additional funding will directly impact students attending both the Haliburton and Lindsay Sir Sanford Fleming College campuses and support a learning environment that helps students succeed in education and life.”

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