Ontario Expands Mental Health Services at Confederation College

Published on May 27, 2021

Funding provides more access to student mental health supports during COVID-19

NEWS May 26, 2021

THUNDER BAY – The Ontario government is providing $263,920 to help improve mental health services for students at Confederation College. 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 COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on our postsecondary students,” said Greg Rickford, MPP for Kenora—Rainy River. “That is why it is so important that we support new projects that will help build better services and partnerships for virtual and on-campus mental health supports.”

Confederation College will use the funding to support the following new project:

Indigenous Student Community Art Hive – for Mental Health: This project uses culturally informed mental health supports through an Art Hive model (using physical and virtual spaces) for Indigenous students that is reflective of the values and cultural practices of the Anishinaabe/Ojibwe people. Confederation College will be partnering with the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council, Ontario Native Women's Association, Seven Generations Education Institutes, and the Thunder Bay Pride Association to carry-out this project to best support the mental health services for 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 Confederation College better support students to get the mental health services they need when they need it while pursing their studies.” 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.

QUICK FACTS

· 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):

o 52 per cent of students reported feeling depressed, compared to 46 per cent in 2016.

o 69 per cent experienced anxiety.

o 12 per cent of Canada’s students had considered suicide, compared to 14 per cent in 2016.

o 2.8 per cent of students reported having attempted suicide.