Ontario Newsroom

Strengthening Mental Health Supports for Postsecondary Students

Archived Backgrounder

Strengthening Mental Health Supports for Postsecondary Students

Ontario is investing $27 million over three years to provide new services and supports to postsecondary students at Ontario's colleges and universities. The funding is part of Ontario's comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy.

The following projects have been approved under the first call for proposals under the fund:

Postsecondary Helpline

Kids Help Phone is working with ConnexOntario, Ontario 211, the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health and postsecondary institutions to offer a province-wide hotline that will be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to college and university students.

Kids Help Phone already provides essential 24/7 telephone and online professional counselling services and support to children and youth across Ontario concerning bullying prevention, internet safety and gang related issues. ConnexOntario already provides essential 24/7 information and referral helpline services for mental health and addictions in the province.

Funding: $6 million over three years


Centre for Innovation on Campus Mental Health

Colleges Ontario, in partnership with the Council of Ontario Universities, the College Student Alliance and the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance and with the support of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division, is creating a centre where all institutions will be able to access expert advice to help students with complex mental health needs. The centre will also serve as a virtual hub to help campus mental health providers explore new ideas and put more effective practices in place.

Funding: $1.1 million over three years

Provincial Mental Health First Aid Initiative: Delivering on Existing Best Practice Now

Humber College, a leader in providing mental health first aid training in Ontario's postsecondary system, will co-ordinate the delivery of a training program to more than 2,500 college and university community members across the province. Through its partnership with 12 academic institutions, this project will provide sustainable, ongoing education for postsecondary employees on how to help students who may be struggling with mental health issues.

Funding: $752,286 over three years

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Mental Health Postsecondary Campus Project

Egale Canada Human Rights Trust, in partnership with the Ontario University Student's Alliance, will work to improve the mental health, wellness and social well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students on campuses across the province and will recruit student volunteers as peer-educators.

Funding: $493,631 over two years

A Campus-wide, Evidenced-based Approach to Addressing Postsecondary Student Mental Health

The Ontario College of Art & Design University, in partnership with Ryerson University, will test a new model for addressing postsecondary student mental health issues that was developed by a national working group. The two universities will share best practices and by year three, best practices will be shared with other Ontario postsecondary institutions.

Funding: $352,750 over three years


Train the Trainer

Laurentian University will work with Humber College to certify at least 12 trainers in mental health first aid and certify five more in applied suicide intervention skills. Laurentian will also organize cultural sensitivity training for trainers, faculty, staff, students and members of partner institutions, with a focus on Aboriginal populations. Certified trainers will provide training to university staff and community members.

Funding:  $86,700 over two years

Bridging the Distance: A Pan-Northern Approach to Improve Access and Support for Mental Health Services

Confederation College, in partnership with Cambrian College, Canadore College and Northern College, will build links between their institutions to bridge the geographic and professional isolation that is common in the North. The colleges will work collaboratively on related items and share best practices. The goal is to detect student mental health issues earlier to provide better-informed intervention with co-ordinated supports, both at colleges and within their larger communities.

Funding:  $972,770 over three years

Developing Documentation Standards and Guidelines for Academic Accommodations for Students with Mental Health Disabilities Attending Postsecondary Institutions

Students requiring special accommodations in their school need documentation from a professional identifying their challenges and how they will affect their academic performance. 

To help remove barriers, Queen's University, in partnership with St. Lawrence College, will develop documentation standards for accommodating these students together with training for  students, faculty, access/disability advisors, student leaders and administrators on how best to accommodate students with mental health issues. The partnership will also develop an information and resource handbook for students with mental health issues.

Funding:  $1 million over three years

The Development of a Peer Mentoring Program for Postsecondary Students with Mental Health Issues

 Queen's University will develop and evaluate a peer mentoring program for students with mental health issues that can be used across the postsecondary system. Peer mentors have a high degree of credibility as sources of information and support in the eyes of fellow students and can focus on areas of support that are difficult to access in professional counselling. However, the lack of education and training is an obstacle for students who would like to take on a mentoring role with their peers. This program will deliver intensive training to peer volunteers covering a range of information and skills that will help them provide academic and personal support to students dealing with mental health issues.

Funding:  $426,200 over three years

Niagara Postsecondary Holistic Wellness Initiative

Brock University, in partnership with Niagara College, will develop an accessible and user-friendly online information portal along with face-to-face programs to address the diverse mental health needs of postsecondary students in Niagara. All aspects of the project will build upon an Aboriginal understanding of wellness, which views mental health from a holistic perspective.

Programming will give students the opportunity to connect directly with local service providers.

Funding:  $360,240 over three years

Rural/Northern Access Hub

Sault College will develop, test and share a model for providing mental health services collaboratively in rural and northern institutions. The college will look for opportunities to link to Confederation's Pan Northern project. This project will expand existing partnerships with Aboriginal groups and community agencies to improve collaboration in services. Sault College's goal is to identify and address gaps in referral, interim supports, and treatment for students.


Funding: $772,190 over three years

Additional Resources

Media Contacts



Education and Training Government Health and Wellness