JOINT NEWS RELEASE
ANDREA KHANJIN, BARRIE-INNISFIL MPP
DOUG DOWNEY, BARRIE-SPRINGWATER-ORO-MEDONTE MPP
The Ontario government is investing an additional $168,017 to increase mental health supports for post-secondary students at Georgian College.
This funding is part of an additional $8.7 million for Ontario post-secondary institutions announced on Nov. 4 in the 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario.
This additional funding will support post-secondary 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.
The 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 post-secondary institutions.
“Ontario’s publicly assisted colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes play an important role in supporting the mental health needs of Ontario’s post-secondary 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.”
“Over the last several years the mental health needs of post-secondary students have increased dramatically,” said Andrea Khanjin, MPP for Barrie-Innisfil. “This $73,573 investment in the mental health of our students, and the $94,444 investment in the Mental Health Workers Grant will ensure we’re supporting our students in their studies and future career goals, because when they succeed, we all succeed.”
“Post-secondary school places students in a brand-new atmosphere, and can present new and unique challenges,” said Doug Downey, MPP for Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte. “This can be an overwhelming time for many students, and we know that when students are given the tools they need to succeed, they are better equipped to pursue their dreams. Mental health is health, and I’m glad to see this support being provided to help the next generations achieve their goals.”
“The COVID‐19 pandemic has increased the pressures on post-secondary 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.
- In 2020-21, the government invested a total of $26.25 million in mental health supports for post-secondary 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):
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.
- 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.