The Ontario government announced an unprecedented investment in mental health and addictions services this morning, including funding for 15 youth wellness hubs.
Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne’s announcement is the largest provincial investment in mental health in Canada's history. The $2.1-billion investment will be made over a four-year period to improve the accessibility of mental health care and addiction services.
Wynne said her plan would improve youth access to therapy and counselling, allowing 12,000 more young people to access service in 2018-19, growing that number to 46,000 in 2021-22. The province will also create as many as 15 youth wellness hubs for those aged 12 to 25.
“This announcement is going to be a game-changer for students,” said Landon Tulk, University Students’ Council vice-president and the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance's vice-president finance.
Ontario will also be expanding addictions services, such as withdrawal management and community treatments.
According to Tulk, OUSA partnered with the College Student Alliance, Colleges Ontario and Council of Ontario Universities to release a joint publication outlining mental health issues and recommendations. Published last November, Tulk said a number of the recommendations were implemented in the Ontario government’s mental health investment plans. For example, Ontario will be looking into mental health transition programming for high school students going on to post-secondary education. Further, the government will ensure that students continue to have support available in university.
“Mental health has been a very active priority at OUSA, and I’m very proud of our advocacy efforts,” Tulk said.
Tulk believes that future students coming into Western University will benefit from increased access to greater supports compared to what current students have today.