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Funding to Support Student Mental Health at Ontario Tech and Durham College

DURHAM: Lindsey Park, Member of Provincial Parliament Durham, and Lorne Coe, Member of Provincial Parliament Whitby, announced on Tuesday, February 23rd, by news release actions the province is taking to support student mental health at Ontario Tech University and Durham College.

The Ontario government is providing a total of $729,301 to help increase access to mental health and addiction services for students during the COVID-19 pandemic at Ontario Tech University and Durham College in Durham Region.

To assist post-secondary students with access to the mental health services and supports they need, the Government is providing Ontario Tech University with $355,952 and Durham College with $373,349. This much needed funding will strengthen community partnerships, increase the number of mental health workers and programs, and immediately expand access for students to the provincial mental health and addictions system during COVID-19.

Institutions will have the flexibility to determine how best to allocate funding to mental health services and supports to respond to local campus and student COVID-19 related mental health needs. Particular emphasis is placed on virtually-delivered mental health services and other hybrid models to support students as they continue to learn online.

“Supporting students and their mental health as they navigate their post-secondary education is vital, and even more so during a pandemic,” said Lindsey Park, MPP Durham. “These resources will assist students in staying the course as they work to gain the skills and training needed for today’s changing job market.”

“The mental health of post-secondary students is a priority for our Government. Providing students with access to mental health supports and services when they need them is a critical piece to a student’s health and well being,” said Lorne Coe, MPP for Whitby and Chief Government Whip. “We will continue to work with, and support, our post-secondary sector partners like Durham College and Ontario Tech University to create a learning environment that helps students succeed in education and life.”

This funding is part of the province’s total investment of $26.25 million for mental health supports for post-secondary students in 2020-21, representing an increase of $10.25 million over last year. It will support more services for students on-campus and virtually. It can also be used to address the needs of vulnerable and diverse groups, such as Indigenous students and students with disabilities.

“On behalf of Ontario Tech University, thank you to the Province of Ontario for their support and for prioritizing student mental-health needs through this new funding,” said Dr. Steven Murphy, President and Vice-Chancellor. “Now more than ever, we need to focus on the well-being of our students by ensuring they feel supported mentally and emotionally. This provincial investment will further enable us to provide timely and critical mental health services for our students.”

Providing mental health supports for post-secondary students is part of Ontario’s Roadmap to Wellness, the Government’s plan to build a connected and comprehensive mental health and addiction system that ensures children, youth, and adults in Ontario receive appropriate services where and when they need them.

“Now more than ever, investments in mental health are needed,” said Don Lovisa, President Durham College. “With this funding, Durham College will expand services for students, both on-campus and virtually, to create the best conditions possible for students.”

“We know that college and university can be a stressful time for our students and that the COVID-19 outbreak has only increased the impact on their mental health,” said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “That is why we are investing more in mental health services to meet student needs better, creating the best conditions possible for students to achieve their goals.”

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