On March 26, 2013 the Ontario government announced that it will spend $27 million over three years to address the growing challenges of mental health issues on university campuses. In the first year, $12.3 million will be spent on 10 new programs, including a hotline service that will be available to postgraduate students 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The hotline (name as yet to be determined), will be coordinated by Kids Help Phone.
In addition, the government announced the Centre for Innovation on Campus Mental Health, which will be run by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario in conjunction with Colleges Ontario, the Council of Ontario Universities, the College Student Alliance and the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. The Centre will be a place where all organizations can access expert advice on student mental health. It will also provide an online hub of resources and expertise for campus staff, to assist them in helping students deal with mental health issues.
Ontario universities have experienced growing numbers of students with mental health challenges. Statistics Canada reports youth between the ages of 15 to 24 years – university aged young people – are the most likely group to experience mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety, personality disorders, eating disorders, psychosis, suicidal behaviour and/or substance dependence.
For more details, please read the Ontario government Backgrounder, “Strengthening Mental Health Supports for Postsecondary Students,” available on the provincial website.
You can also read “Queen’s Park earmarks $27 million to tackle mental health issues on Ontario campuses” online on the Toronto Star website.