Ontario Improving Mental Health Care for Postsecondary Students

Investment will provide students across 10 institutions with targeted mental health supports

May 09, 2024

Colleges and Universities

Table of Contents

  1. Content
  2. Quick Facts
  3. Additional Resources
  4. Related Topics

TORONTO – The Ontario government is supporting students by investing $5 million towards mental health and addictions services in primary care across 10 postsecondary institutions in the province. Mental health projects will provide learners in underserved communities in northeastern, eastern and south-central Ontario with care from trained mental health professionals.

“This is Mental Health Week in Canada, and our government recognizes how essential mental health care is in setting postsecondary students up for success,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “This funding will ensure those students in underserved communities can receive the high-quality mental health care they need, directly from their school.”’

The investment will support hiring nurse practitioners, social workers, psychotherapists, traditional counsellors and healers to provide mental health and addictions services to treat and care for students. Funding will also fill large gaps in services and even provide clinical mental health care in places where none currently exist.

“Our government is taking action to ensure postsecondary students across Ontario can conveniently connect to the mental health care they need, where and when they need it,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “This investment builds on the steps we have taken to support students to thrive in their studies while promoting, and building, healthier campuses and communities.”

To ensure each project meets the unique and diverse needs of their students, institutions are working in partnership with community-based non-profit organizations and local postsecondary institutions to develop and deliver their mental health projects. The eight projects, encompassing 10 institutions, include:

  • Algoma University, in partnership with the Mental Health Association Cochrane-Timiskaming – to fund mental health professionals for in-school care instead of referring students to care outside of the region.
  • Algonquin College, in partnership with the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group – to address the College’s increase in demand for psychiatric services and increasing rates of students leaving school due to long wait times for mental health care.
  • College Boréal, in partnership with Compass/ Boussole/ Akii-Izhinoogan – to support Francophone students, many of whom are international students and face increasing mental health challenges because of a lack of linguistically and culturally appropriate services.
  • Niagara College, in partnership with Community Addictions Services of Niagara – to address extensive primary care and addiction service gaps and offer tailor-made supports for Indigenous students.
  • Nipissing University, in partnership with Canadore College – to support unique “back-to-campus” services for students in hospital care for acute and chronic mental health conditions.
  • Iohahiio Akwesasne Education and Training Institute, in partnership with St. Lawrence College – to provide in-house and on-site integrated mental health supports to students.
  • Shingwauk Teaching Lodge, in partnership with Shingwauk Anishinaabe Student Association, ‘mninoeyaa Aboriginal Mental Health Services and Batchewana Health Centre – to hire diverse primary care providers for the Indigenous Institute, including traditional Indigenous healers and counselors to provide mental health support.
  • Six Nations Polytechnic, in partnership with Six Nations Health Services – for in-house mental health services in primary care for students, including targeted cross-cultural supports for Indigenous students.

“Students across Ontario deserve reliable and accessible services to support their wellbeing, resilience, and learning,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Providing timely and high-quality mental health care for students in partnership with local community agencies aligns with the goals of the Roadmap to Wellness to fill the gaps in care and expand the availability of mental health and addictions services for everyone in Ontario.”

Through Ontario’s Your Health Plan and Roadmap to Wellness mental health and addictions strategy, Ontario is taking decisive action to increase mental health supports for postsecondary students. Mental health funding and initiatives such as this reduce disparities in the quality, priority and availability of mental health services at Ontario’s postsecondary institutions – meaning students will have better access to mental health and wellness resources that truly make a difference during their educational journey and after.

Quick Facts

  • Earlier this year, Ontario introduced a suite of measures to stabilize the province’s colleges and universities, including nearly $1.3 billion in new funding. This funding contains $23 million to enhance mental health supports for postsecondary students, including $8 million for the Postsecondary Mental Health Action Plan over the next three years.
  • The province is also introducing the Strengthening Accountability and Student Supports Act, 2024. If passed, the bill will require all colleges and universities to have robust policies in place relating to mental health and wellness supports and services, helping to enhance well-being and positive experiences for postsecondary students.
  • In 2023-24, Ontario invested over $32 million to support the mental health of all postsecondary students, including funding provided directly to colleges, universities and Indigenous institutes.

Additional Resources

Related Topics

Education and Training

Learn about Ontario’s early years, education and training systems. Includes information on child care, elementary schools, secondary schools, colleges, universities, skills training and financial aid. Learn more