Ontario Expands Mental Health Services at the University of OttawaPublished on May 28, 2021
Funding provides more access to student mental health supports during COVID-19
The Ontario government is providing $557,200 to help improve mental health services for students at the University of Ottawa. The funding is part of Ontario’s Roadmap to Wellness and will help ensure students receive the support they need when and where they need it.
“We know the stresses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have had a tremendous impact on our postsecondary students,” said Merrilee Fullerton, MPP for Kanata-Carleton and Minister of Long-Term Care. “That is why across the Province the Ontario Government is supporting initiatives that will help develop better services and partnerships for virtual and on-campus mental health supports.”
The University of Ottawa will use the funding to support a new project: uoResilience. This initiative helps to build a campus-wide mental health approach to support diverse students facing mental health impacts due to COVID-19. In collaboration with Community Addiction Peer Support Association, the university will use a physical-virtual peer support wellness lounge, a case management model for at-risk students, and a health and well-being literacy campaign aimed at vulnerable populations to provide mental health services and supports to students.
“Ontario’s postsecondary institutions play a vital role in meeting the mental health needs of students, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “This project will help the University of Ottawa better support students to get the mental health services they need when they need it while pursing their studies.”
“The pandemic has revealed vulnerabilities in many students, especially in those with pre-existing mental health issues,” explained Jill Scott, Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs. “Thanks to this provincial funding we are poised to make a significant culture shift on campus by implementing a three-pronged evidence-based mental health approach that will have an immediate impact on student wellness.”
Roadmap to Wellness is the government's plan to build a connected and comprehensive mental health and addictions system that ensures children, youth, and adults in Ontario receive appropriate services where and when they need them.
- To help postsecondary students during COVID-19, Ontario provided an additional $7 million in 2020-21 to increase access to mental health and addictions services, building on an investment of $19.25 million announced in October 2020. This funding will provide services to those studying on campus or virtually and will help address the needs of vulnerable and diverse groups, such as Indigenous students, LGBTQ+ students and students with disabilities.
- Over the last several years, the mental health needs of postsecondary students have increased dramatically in Canada. According to the last National College Health Assessment survey of the Canadian student population (2019):
- 52 per cent of students reported feeling depressed, compared to 46 per cent in 2016.
- 69 per cent experienced anxiety.
- 12 per cent of Canada’s students had considered suicide, compared to 14 per cent in 2016.
- 8 per cent of students reported having attempted suicide.
Media Contact for MPP Merrilee Fullerton: