Ontario pledges $12M for post-secondary mental health projects | Star

Ontario pledges $12M for post-secondary mental health projects | Toronto Star

The Ontario government has pledged $12 million over two years to fund mental health projects for students on college and university campuses.
“Our most important responsibility is to ensure the safety and well-being of our students … but we know a staggering 70 per cent of mental health and addiction problems begin when people are young,” said MPP Reza Moridi, Ontario’s minister of training, colleges and universities. He made the announcement Friday, World Mental Health Day, at the University of Toronto.
The move extends the province’s Mental Health Innovation Fund, which has sponsored 20 projects since being launched in 2012, from training of campus staff to recognize the signs of stress, to websites that steer students to help.
In seeking proposals from colleges and universities, Moridi said the ministry will favour projects that serve First Nations and M├ętis students, students with addictions and students arriving at higher learning from high school. “We’re particularly pleased at the focus on aboriginal students, because the majority of aboriginal students in post-secondary go to colleges,” said Rob Savage, spokesperson for Colleges Ontario.
The province has spent $9 million a year since 2012 on mental health support on campus, of which $6 million a year goes to projects suggested by post-secondary institutions and community partners.
The U of T has launched a project with York University and Ryerson that provides support for students who are hospitalized for mental health issues and then face a return to campus.
“Too often these students were released and came back to school with no help — sometimes we would not even know why they had gone — and now, we can go to the hospital and begin to connect them with supports from academic program counseling to maybe a refund, which they might not have thought of,” said Lucy Fromowitz, the U of T’s assistant vice-president of student life..
Obviously stresses on students can be overwhelming, and crippling stigmas still exists about mental health issues, but there is a groundswell of initiatives driven by students to provide support,” said U of T student Kaleem Hawa, who is on a campus committee looking into student mental health.
The government also funds a free 24-hour helpline for post-secondary students called Good2Talk, which serves some 1,000 students a month, said Moridi.

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