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Ontario Supporting Postsecondary Students Mental Health at St. Lawrence College

An additional investment of $157,960 increases support for student mental wellness

BROCKVILLE — The Ontario government is investing an additional $157,960 to increase mental health supports for postsecondary students at St. Lawrence 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, 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.

“Our government is helping our postsecondary students realize their full potential by ensuring they can access the mental health supports they need and deserve,” said Steve Clark, MPP for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This investment is yet another example of how our government is protecting Ontario’s progress against COVID-19, while continuing to build a province that is the best place to live, work, and learn.”

“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.”

“Our students’ need for mental health support and resources has grown, and to have this recognized by the government, with increased funding is greatly appreciated,” said SLC President and CEO Glenn Vollebregt. “We don’t only help students succeed in the classroom or lab, we help them throughout their post-secondary experience, and we know mental health supports and resources help students develop strategies and find balance which in turn maintains their positive mental health.”

“Over the last several years the mental health needs of postsecondary students have increased dramatically,” said Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. “This investment in the mental health of our students will ensure we’re supporting them in their studies and future career goals, because when they succeed, we all succeed.”

“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.”

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

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.

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.