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, LGBTQQ2S+ 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 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.”
“We are thrilled with this additional investment and commitment by the provincial government to support student mental health across the province,” said Glenn Vollebregt, President and CEO, St. Lawrence College. “SLC has seen an increased need for mental health services for our students during the pandemic. This investment will bolster our counselling services for students who require support as we are committed to helping them succeed.”
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.”
In addition to mental health counselling through Student Wellness & Accessibility, the College offers a number of wellness groups, including sessions on better sleep strategies, understanding substance use, effective study techniques, and stress management. Students can also access Therapy Assistance Online (TAO), a digital platform with a mobile app designed to support well-being and provide access to counselling for depression, health issues, eating disorders, and stress.