The Ontario government is providing a total of $851,359 to help increase access to mental health and addiction services for students at McMaster University and Mohawk College. The funding will strengthen community partnerships, increase the number of mental health workers and programs, and immediately expand access for students to the provincial mental health and addictions system during COVID-19.
“Our youth have been dealing with incredible pressure and stress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Donna Skelly, MPP for Flamborough-Glanbrook. “In these difficult times, this investment will help to ensure that the mental health services post-secondary students require, will be available when they need it.”
This funding will support more services for students on-campus and virtually and can also be used to address the needs of vulnerable and diverse groups, such as Indigenous students, LGBTQ students and students with disabilities.
“This investment aligns completely with McMaster’s Student Mental Health and Well-being Strategy,” said Sean Van Koughnett, AVP Students and Learning and Dean of Students. “Our ability to respond to students looking for mental health support relies on government funding and these new dollars will allow McMaster to provide more of the vital mental health services our students increasingly need.”
Providing mental health supports for postsecondary students is part of Ontario’s Roadmap to Wellness, the government’s plan to build a connected and comprehensive mental health and addiction system that ensures children, youth, and adults in Ontario receive appropriate services where and when they need them.
Ssaid Ron McKerlie, President and CEO of Mohawk College. “Mohawk College has added additional student support services. This funding will allow us to increase those resources to maintain and improve support for the health and wellbeing of our students.”
To ensure postsecondary students have access to the mental health services and supports they need, the government is providing McMaster University with $476,968 and Mohawk College with $374,391.
Over the last several years the mental health needs of postsecondary students have increased dramatically in Ontario. According to the last National College Health Assessment survey of the Canadian student population (2019):
o 552 per cent of students reported feeling depressed, compared to 46 per cent in 2016.
o 669 per cent experienced anxiety.
o 11.8 per cent of students reported having attempted suicide.