TORONTO – Ontario’s government is putting students first by increasing funding to expand mental health services for postsecondary students across the province.
Today, Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities, at Ryerson University announced an additional investment of $1 million to help Kids Help Phone to expand Good2Talk/Allo J’écoute services in order to reach and support more postsecondary students.
Good2Talk is Ontario’s bilingual mental health support service, providing professional counselling, information and referrals, and is available to all postsecondary students 24/7, 365 days a year. This investment will enable Good2Talk to offer help through Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone, a platform that provides trained volunteer support through text message, and will ensure students at Indigenous Institutes in Ontario are aware of this free service for all postsecondary students.
“Helping all Ontario’s students maintain their mental health is critical to supporting student resilience and success. We know that over the last several years the mental health needs of postsecondary students have increased dramatically in Ontario,” said Minister Romano, “Expanding mental health supports will help reach more postsecondary students so they can succeed in their studies and set themselves up for future success in the workforce.”
This investment builds on other investments made in the postsecondary sector to provide students with the supports and services they need and enables a more seamless partnership between the postsecondary sector and community mental health service providers. “For the past year, we’ve been travelling the province to hear about the changes Ontarians expect to see in our province’s mental health and addictions system,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Expanding programs like Good2Talk is another example of how our government is listening and delivering more options for mental health services for Ontario students.
We are taking a cross-government approach to build a mental health and addictions system and will soon launch Ontario’s mental health and addictions strategy – a roadmap toward meaningfully improving the care Ontarians receive.”
“Our government is continuing to fulfill our commitment to make mental health and addictions a priority,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Investing in students’ mental wellness is part of a broader plan to build a comprehensive, connected and integrated mental health and addictions system that works for Ontarians throughout all stages of their lives. We look forward to working closely with our partners, like Kids Help Phone, to ensure that every Ontarian across the province can be fully supported in their journey towards mental wellness.”
“We are incredibly excited to be offering this critical service to postsecondary students across the province, knowing it has the potential to reach thousands of students looking for immediate support,” said Alisa Simon, Senior Vice-President, Innovation and Chief Youth Officer, Kids Help Phone. “We are proud of the tremendous difference Good2Talk has made over the years and know that by adding Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone to the suite of available services we can end the epidemic of emotional crisis that’s affecting millions of young people every single year.”
“At Ryerson University, we know that a flourishing university community is one that supports its students in developing and managing their mental well-being,” said Ryerson University President and Vice Chancellor Mohamed Lachemi. “We are pleased to see this significant investment into important student focussed resources that will support our students, and all postsecondary students in this province, in managing their mental wellbeing.”
Supporting mental health and wellness on campus is part of Ontario’s plan to build healthier communities and a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions system that ensures children, youth and adults have access to supports where and when they need them.
Good2Talk/Allo J’écoute currently fields more than 2,000 calls per month, with annual demand on the rise.
In 2019-20, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities is investing a total of $16 million in mental health supports and services for postsecondary students in Ontario. Supports currently available to students include front-line mental health service workers on campuses, counselling and crisis intervention support.
46 per cent of Ontario’s postsecondary students reported that they felt symptoms of depression compromising their ability to function.
65 per cent feel overwhelming anxiety (an increase of 13 per cent in three years).
Good2Talk is a free, confidential mental health support service providing professional counselling and information and referrals for mental health, addictions and well-being to postsecondary students in Ontario, 24/7/365. Learn more at www.good2talk.ca