MPP JILL DUNLOP
The Ontario government is providing $357,698 to help increase access to mental health and addiction services for students at Georgian College. 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 announcement was made today by Jill Dunlop, MPP for Simcoe North, Doug Downey, MPP for Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte and Andrea Khanjin, MPP for Barrie-Innisfil.
"Mental health professionals inform us that students are under more pressure and more stress than any recent generation, especially during these unprecedented times" said MPP Dunlop. "This investment will help to ensure that the mental health services Georgian College students need will set them up for success and will be available to support them when they need it."
“Now more than ever, we need to invest in programs to support the mental health and wellness of students,” said MPP Doug Downey. “College and University can be a difficult time for any student to navigate. Mental health is health, and while we are investing in the schools themselves to help students achieve academic success, it is important to ensure that we support their mental health and overall wellbeing, to ensure they have all the tools they need to continue to pursue and achieve their dreams.”
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.
“We know that college and university can be a stressful time for our students and that the COVID-19 outbreak has only increased the impact on their mental health,” said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “That is why we are investing more in mental health services to better meet student needs—creating the best conditions possible for students to achieve their goals.”
Providing mental health supports for post-secondary 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.
“Increased funding to improve support for students who experience mental health challenges while studying on campus or remotely is always welcome news,” said Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, President Georgian College. “We want our students to thrive at Georgian. Our Mental Health and Well-Being team will ensure this provincial funding is used to increase our mental health resources and access to mental health supports.”
"Our students are our future", said MPP Andrea Khanjin. "It is critical for College and University students to be provided with the resources they need when experiencing mental health challenges- and even more so now due to the pandemic. We know that mental health services are not only needed to support the psychological well-being of students, they are also an important part of academic success and retention. This funding will support more services for students on-campus and virtually and can also be used to address the needs of vulnerable and diverse groups- to help all students reach their full potential."
- 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):
o 52 per cent of students reported feeling depressed, compared to 46 per cent in 2016.
o 69 per cent experienced anxiety.
o 12 per cent of Canada’s students had considered suicide, compared to 14 per cent in 2016.
o 2.8 per cent of students reported having attempted suicide.
- In October 2020, the Ontario government announced $19.25 million in mental health supports for postsecondary students.
- In February 2021, the Ontario government announced an additional $7 million in funding to help increase access to mental health and addiction services for postsecondary students during COVID-19.
- 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.