Ontario Supporting Postsecondary Students Mental Health at The Universities of Waterloo, Guelph, Wilfrid Laurier, and Conestoga College

Published on November 18, 2021

Additional investment of $816,785 increases support for student mental wellness


NEWS

November 18, 2021


WATERLOO REGION - The Ontario government is investing an additional $816,785 to increase mental health supports for postsecondary students at The Universities of Waterloo, Guelph, Wilfrid Laurier and Conestoga College.


This funding is part of an additional $8.7 million for Ontario postsecondary institutions announced on November 4, in the 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario.


This additional funding will support postsecondary students and will help to address the increased need for mental health services due to the COVID‐19 pandemic. It also includes new funding for the nine Indigenous Institutes in Ontario and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and l'Université de l'Ontario français.


This investment builds on the government’s record investments to address mental health and addictions challenges from the 2021 Budget, for a total of $28.5 million in 2021–22 mental health supports at Ontario postsecondary institutions.


“Ontario’s publicly-assisted colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes play an important role in supporting the mental health needs of Ontario’s postsecondary students, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “Ontario’s additional investment will help to promote campus wellness and create the right conditions for our students to succeed in their studies.”


“We know that the mental health needs of post secondary students have been increasing dramatically in recent years,” said Mike Harris, MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga. “Our government’s commitment of $816,785 to improving the mental health of students in our region will ensure we’re setting them up for success in their studies and future career goals.”


“The COVID‐19 pandemic has increased the pressures on postsecondary mental health services, which is why we are building on our government’s record investments to address mental health and addictions challenges,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “Our government is committed to protecting our progress against the COVID-19 pandemic and providing mental health supports for those who need them.”


The province’s investments in mental health are part of the Roadmap to Wellness, the government's plan to build a connected and comprehensive mental health and addictions system that ensures children, youth, and adults in Ontario receive appropriate services where and when they need them.


QUICK FACTS

  • In 2020-21, the government invested a total of $26.25 million in mental health supports for postsecondary students, an increase of $10.25 million over the previous year. This funding provided services to those studying on campus or virtually and will help address the needs of vulnerable and diverse groups, such as Indigenous students, LGBTQ+ students and students with disabilities.

 

  • 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.
    • 2.8 per cent of students reported having attempted suicide.
  • The Ontario government recently announced an investment of over $36 million in Indigenous-focused mental health and addictions (MHA) and trauma supports to directly support community needs.


QUOTES

“For the past 20 months, postsecondary students in Ontario’s colleges and universities have been forced to adapt to the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to significant impacts on their mental health. This investment will help to protect our progress by ensuring our postsecondary students have more and faster access to the highest quality mental health and addictions supports that meet their unique needs, in a setting where they can be fully supported.” – Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions


“Ontario’s universities welcome the government’s increased investment in the mental health of our students. Student mental health continues to be one of the most pressing issues on university campuses, which has only been further compounded by COVID-19. Ontario’s universities remain committed to continuing to work with government to support the mental health and well-being of our students, and this added support will help enhance available mental health services." – Steve Orsini, President and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities


“Ensuring effective support is available to every student that needs help is a priority on our campuses, particularly during these challenging times. We’re pleased the government continues to invest in enhanced mental health supports and services for students.” – Linda Franklin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Colleges Ontario


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