TORONTO, May 3, 2017 – The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is celebrating significant achievements for Ontarian students following today’s announcement by Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development and Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, regarding increased allocations in funding to support mental health services and supports across Ontario’s post-secondary education campuses.
The government of Ontario announced that six million dollars in funding each year for the next three years will be given to Ontario’s campuses to provide stronger mental health supports for campus communities. This funding is in addition to the $9 million per year that was given to support frontline mental health workers earlier this Spring.
“OUSA has placed a significant focus this year in seeking methods for how we can improve mental health supports on our campuses,” said OUSA President, Jamie Cleary. “The stresses of post-secondary education result in students being a particularly vulnerable population to experience mental health issues and, as such, there have been significant demands for increased mental health care and counselling services. We are very happy to see the government acknowledging the need to support Ontario students and we look forward to seeing the many positive impacts this $45 million dollars will have for campus mental health.”
In the Ontario University and College Health Association’s 2016 National College Health Assessment, data from more than 25,000 students across 20 Ontario institutions showed that depression, anxiety, and suicide attempts are increasing among post-secondary students. It is important that the government take continued steps to improve overall wellbeing amongst student populations which include a variety of measures and supports in combination with accommodations for academic requirements.
“We still want to ensure all campus health professionals receive mental health and wellbeing education, training, and resources,” says Cleary. “It will be imperative that we continue to seek ways to improve campus mental health in both proactive and reactive measures.”