New Investments in Campus Mental Health Move Ontario in the Right Direction
Students welcome today’s announcement by the Ontario government of a $6 million investment in mental health services and supports for college and university students. For years, the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario has called for greater and more sustainable investment in psychotherapy and other support services in response to what many believe is a mental health crisis on campuses across Ontario.
“As mental health became a less taboo topic of public conversation over the last few years, we have seen increasing demand placed on already strained campus mental health services,” said Rajean Hoilett, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. “This has led to seemingly endless waiting lists and aribtrary restrictions placed on the use of campus mental health services such as no-cost professional counselling. Leaving too many students without the help they need.”
The new announcement invests $6 million in additional funding per year for three years to support new mental health projects in the post-secondary education sector. These projects include creating a new province-wide publicly funded psychotherapy program for people living with anxiety and depression, expanding access to existing psychotherapy programs and supporting integrated service hubs to provide one-stop, walk-in mental health services for youth and students.
For the last few years, students have called for more investment in campus mental health services in policy documents and pre-budget submissions, including in the Federation’s 2017 pre-budget submission “Investment with Impact.” In this document, students called for the development of a division within the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development to monitor mental health services and programming at Ontario colleges and universities, and earmarking operating funds for post-secondary institutions to support mental health programs.
“Todays 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 Hoilett. “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.”
The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is the province’s oldest and largest student association, representing over 350,000 college and university students in all regions of Ontario.