Ontario Boosts Mental Health Supports for People Across the Province
Province Funding Increased Mental Health Programs and Services Through 2017 Budget
As part of the 2017 Budget, Ontario is boosting funding for mental health services and supports for people across the province.
Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, and Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, were at the University of Toronto today to highlight $6 million in additional funding for three years to support mental health services and supports at Ontario's colleges and universities.
This is part of a broader investment in mental health services across the province announced in the 2017 budget, which also includes:
- Expanding access to existing psychotherapy services while developing a new province-wide publicly funded psychotherapy program to help people living with conditions such as anxiety and depression
- Supporting up to nine integrated youth service hubs to provide young people with walk-in, one-stop access to mental health and addictions services, as well as other health, social and employment supports under one roof
- Providing free prescription medications for youth 24 years of age and younger through OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare - the first universal drug program of its kind in Canada.
Investing in mental health services and supports is part of Ontario's plan to increase access to care, reduce wait times and improve the patient experience through its Patients First Action Plan for Health Care and OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare Program - protecting health care today and into the future.
- Currently, $9 million per year goes to mental health services and supports for postsecondary students. This new investment will increase funding by $6 million per year over the next three years, resulting in a total investment of $45 million or $15 million per year.
- May 1-7, 2017 is Mental Health Week.
- Since 2012-13, Ontario has supported 34 pilot projects at postsecondary institutions to address student mental health needs, with a particular focus on transitioning students, Indigenous students, and students struggling with addictions.
- Pilot projects are complete and funding has been reinvested to enable every college and university to hire a mental health worker who provides direct service to students.
- Ontario supports the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health and the Good2Talk/ Allo, j’écoute mental health helpline, which provides direct counseling and referral services 24 hours a day, seven days a week in English and French. To date, more than 60,000 calls have been received, with numbers rising annually.
- The 2017 Budget investment in mental health and addictions services is in addition to the approximately $3.7 billion that Ontario has invested annually in mental health and addictions services.
“Our government is committed to creating a more coordinated and responsive mental health system in Ontario. We have heard from students, faculty, administrators and others that there is a rising demand for mental health services on campus. We know that timely access is necessary, and that is why we are working with universities and colleges across Ontario to ensure students can get quality help when and where they need it.”
“Mental illness often first begins at the age when youth are transitioning to adult services. And we know that starting a new chapter in postsecondary education can be an exciting but also challenging time. So investing in mental health supports for young people, including ensuring free access to medications for anyone aged 24 and under, will help students stay healthy while they learn.”
Dr. Eric Hoskins