Funding will be used to expand access to critical services during COVID-19
Toronto, ON – The Ontario government is providing a total of $557,497 to help increase access to mental health and addiction services for students at York University. 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.
“Mental Health is Health. And we need to treat it with as much importance as we do physical health. We all know a friend, a family member, or colleague who has struggled with mental health issues, and many of us have struggled ourselves. This investment and the continuing care and support from the York U family will help many of those struggling during this pandemic and may even save a life.” said Stan Cho, MPP for Willowdale.
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 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 in Ontario receive appropriate services where and when they need them.
“In the face of the physical and emotional disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to reaffirm our commitment to mental health and well-being has never been clearer,” said York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton. “York University is committed to providing equitable and inclusive mental health services that help all of our students realize, develop, and fulfill their personal potential; manage the challenges of university life; and benefit fully from the university experience. We are grateful for the Ontario government’s investment in mental health funding, which will help support the mental health needs of York’s students throughout the pandemic period and beyond.”
- 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
- 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
- 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.