Ontario increases mental health funding to support students at Loyalist College

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2021

BELLEVILLE – The Ontario government is providing $316,146 to help increase access to mental health and addiction services for students at Loyalist 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 Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte and Ontario’s Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.

“Students at Loyalist College are working hard to get the practical skills and training they need to be positive contributors and leaders within our local economy,” said Smith. “This funding ensures they have the support they need to focus on their studies in an environment changed by this pandemic.”

This funding is part of the province’s total investment of $26.25 million for mental health supports for postsecondary students in 2020-2021. It will support more services for students on campus and virtually and it 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, Ontario’s 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 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 receive appropriate services where and when they need them.

Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan, President of Loyalist College, appreciated the investment.

“At Loyalist College, we care deeply about our students’ success and now more than ever, supporting their physical and mental well-being is crucial to empowering their overall growth and development. Coping with the uncertainties of an ongoing global health crisis creates additional challenges for students, so we are very grateful to the Ontario government for prioritizing mental health care,” said Vaughan. “I would like to thank Minister Romano and the Government of Ontario for this generous funding, which will allow us to expand student counselling services and add a dedicated outreach worker to enhance our mental health programming, conduct wellness checks and support mental wellness education.”

QUICK FACTS

  • 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.
  • 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.

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