Ontario Increases Mental Health Funding to Support Students at Brock University and Niagara College

Published on February 25, 2021

St. Catharines - The Ontario government is providing a total of $749,769 to help increase access to mental health and addiction services for students at Brock University and Niagara College. The 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.

"We know many students are struggling and need these supports, especially in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak," said Sam Oosterhoff, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education and MPP for Niagara West.

"This important funding will ensure students at Brock University and Niagara College have access to the supports they need to succeed in their academic journey."

MPP Oosterhoff was joined online by Hon. Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions; Dr. Gervan Fearon, President of Brock University; Sean Kennedy, President of Niagara College; Dr. Sarah Pennisi, Director of the Student Accessibility and Wellness Centre at Brock University, and Lianne Gagnon, Director of Student Services at Niagara College, to announce the supports today.

The funding is part of the province's total investment of $26.25 million for mental health supports for postsecondary students in 2020-21. It will support more services for students on-campus and virtually and can also be used to address the needs of vulnerable and diverse groups, such as Indigenous students, LGBTQ students and students with disabilities.

"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 better meet student needs - creating the best conditions possible for students to achieve their goals."

"We continue to hear from mental health professionals that our youth are under more pressure and more stress than any recent generation," said Minister Tibollo.

"In these unprecedented times, this investment will help to ensure that the mental health services they need are going to be there to support them, when they need it."

Providing mental health supports for postsecondary 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.

"Our students' health and wellness has always been, and continues to be, a top priority for Niagara College," said Sean Kennedy, President of Niagara College.

"This new mental health funding will allow us to offer additional support to students in our community and expand our virtual and online resources."

"Brock University is grateful for the province's ongoing commitment to postsecondary students' mental health," said Dr. Gervan Fearon, President of Brock University.

"This funding has allowed Brock to increase our effectiveness and scope in delivering mental health supports for our students. The provision of a safe and supportive learning environment for our students is something we are proud of achieving which is reflected in Brock ranking first in the Maclean's University Rankings for three-consecutive years for mental health student supports."