Investment would boost post-secondary mental health spending in Ontario by two-thirds for next three years
The Ontario provincial government has pledged to significantly increase funding for post-secondary mental health care for the next 3 years.
On May 3, the provincial government issued a press release highlighting a $6 million annual investment over three years to support mental health services in post-secondary institutions.
“We have heard from students, faculty, administrators and others that there is a rising demand for mental health services on campus,” wrote Deb Matthews, Ontario minister of advanced education and skills development. “We know that timely access is necessary, and that is why we are working with universities and colleges across Ontario to ensure students can get quality help when and where they need it.”
The funding is alongside other commitments including a publicly-funded psychotherapy program for those living with depression and anxiety, supporting youth-service centres that provide mental health and addiction services, and a youth pharmacare program that would cover relevant medications.
Currently, $9 million is allotted per year for post-secondary mental health support specifically; this additional investment will bring total funding to $15 million per year, or $45 million over the next 3 years. This represents a two-thirds funding increase.
The increased funding was applauded by student advocacy groups who have long campaigned for increased mental health support for students.
“Today’s announcement is proof that student action works and that student voices were listened to when it came to addressing the mental health crisis on college and university campuses,” said Rajean Hoilett, chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario, in a May 3 press release following the announcement.
“This new investment has the potential to help countless students struggling with their mental health, and we look forward to working with the province to securing greater, more predictable and more sustainable investments in mental health at Ontario colleges and universities,” Hoilett added.