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Mental Health Supports in Ontario Schools


Mental Health Supports in Ontario Schools

Mental Health Investments:

Ministry of Education

Initiative 1

Mental Health Workers in Secondary Schools ($25 million)

The province will provide $25 million for approximately 180 mental health workers (FTEs) in secondary schools that were hired by district school boards in 2018-19 and make this funding permanent. This investment commitment allows for the continuation of regulated mental health professionals (e.g., social workers, psychologists and psychotherapists) with specialized training in student mental health in secondary schools, providing mental health promotion, prevention, and intervention to students and their families.


70 School boards

Initiative 2

School Mental Health Ontario (SMH-ON) ($6.5 million annually for three years (total of $19.5 million).

SMH-ON provides implementation support to all 72 district school boards through clinical expertise, evidence-based resources/practical tools for educators, and the delivery of consistent professional learning to school-based mental health clinicians.


Hamilton-Wentworth DSB (HWDSB)

Initiative 3

Well-Being and Mental Health Bundle ($3 million)

The funds shall be used to meet local needs to support and promote mental health and well-being, including student mental health and mental health training for educators and school staff. The components of the funding contribute to goal(s) from the school board's and authority's:

  • annual improvement plan
  • multi-year strategic plan
  • three-year Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, and/or annual Action Plan for Mental Health.


All school boards and school authorities

Initiative 4

School-Based Mentoring (SBM) programs ($1.5 million)

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (BBBSC) is being provided with funding for SBM programs for 2019-20 as part of the Priorities and Partnerships Fund (PPF) dedicated to Mental Health and Well-Being. As per the agreement, Big Brother Big Sister agencies in Ontario will deliver SBM programs in cooperation with schools and school boards.

The guidance, support and mentorship provided by their Big Brothers or Big Sisters is a valuable tool in reducing the risks faced by vulnerable children and youth that can contribute to mental health issues.


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada

Initiative 5

Kids Help Phone: Bullying Prevention Counselling ($1 million)

Kids Help Phone provides 24/7/365 professional counselling services for children, teens and young adults across Canada with Ontario being the largest user of its services. Kids Help Phone supports the mental health of children and youth by providing services across multiple channels, including text, phone, live chats, and information about how to access local services in English and French.


Kids Help Phone

Initiative 6

Roots of Empathy & Seeds of Empathy Programs ($1 million)

This funding supports Roots of Empathy programs in elementary school classrooms, Seeds of Empathy programs in early childhood centres, and outreach to under-served communities, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. Roots of Empathy programs develop social and emotional competence, self-regulation, and executive function - fundamental abilities that foster resilience, well-being and positive mental health.


Roots of Empathy

Initiative 7

WE Schools Programming (WE Charity) ($250,000)

WE Schools is a year-long education program that aims to nurture empathy and compassion in students and increase student outcomes in academic engagement, workplace readiness, and citizenship by engaging students and teachers in local and global actions through classroom and after-school curriculum and resources. The WE Schools Program supports positive mental health by providing resources to help educate young people about making a difference in local communities. Student engagement and participation bring attention to empathy and compassion as well as social justice issues like hunger, poverty, bullying, and education for girls.


WE Charity

Initiative 8

Cyberbullying Prevention Skills Development for School Leaders (~$245,000)

Cyberbullying is linked to depression and mental health issues in children and youth. The aim of the project is to implement strategies that will assist principals and vice-principals across the province in responding to cyberviolence and cyberbullying in schools and on social media.  A project leadership team, consisting of a chair, four project leads representing each principal association and Victim Services Toronto, will collaborate for the design, development, implementation, and assessment of all deliverables. 


Principal Association Projects Service Partners with Ontario Principals' Council

Initiative 9

Preventing Sexual Exploitation Project ($120,000)

Victims of sexual exploitation come from all demographic backgrounds in Ontario. However, youth struggling with low self-esteem, bullying, discrimination, poverty, social isolation, abuse, family issues, and mental health and addiction issues are more likely to be targeted.

White Ribbon will work with stakeholders across the education sector as well as with community partners to develop an online resource to prevent sexual exploitation, promote digital citizenship and the responsible use of technology, and foster healthy relationships, with an emphasis on reaching rural and remote communities.


White Ribbon

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