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The Mental Health Innovation Fund

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The Mental Health Innovation Fund

Mental illness and addictions are significant and complex issues that cut across society and touch the lives of many people.

In June 2011 Ontario launched a comprehensive mental health and addictions strategy, Open Minds, Healthy Minds.  The strategy is Ontario's plan to support mental health, from childhood to old age.

As part of the strategy, the Mental Health Innovation Fund was created to support new and innovative approaches to help postsecondary students, and those transitioning to college or university, access the mental health services they need. Up to $6 million annually has been made available for projects that meet the criteria of the Mental Health Innovation Fund.

The fund was launched in 2012 and has since funded 32 projects to improve access to high-quality mental health services in the postsecondary environment. The goals of the Mental Health Innovation Fund are:

  • To identify and address gaps in mental health and addictions services for Ontario postsecondary students.
  • To enable and promote knowledge sharing and best practices across Ontario's postsecondary community.
  • To facilitate partnerships with other mental health care and addictions services providers within local Ontario communities.  Partnerships focused on First Nation and Métis students, organizations involved in supporting students with mental health issues in transition from secondary school to postsecondary education, as well as agencies and community organizations involved in harm reduction strategies involving drug and alcohol abuse by postsecondary students are all being encouraged.
  • To support innovation in approaches to mental health and addictions service delivery for postsecondary students and particularly those transitioning from secondary to postsecondary studies.
  • To support improved outcomes for postsecondary students with mental health and/or addictions issues and particularly those in transition from secondary to postsecondary studies. 


Organizations eligible to participate in the Mental Health Innovation Fund include:

  • Publicly funded universities and colleges of applied arts and technology.
  • Colleges Ontario.
  • Council of Ontario Universities.
  • Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance.
  • College Student Alliance.
  • Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario.
  • Other stakeholders with an interest in postsecondary mental health and addictions issues in Ontario working in partnership with a lead organization from the list above.

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