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Province invests nearly $40M in student mental health

Last Updated Oct 10, 2019 at 10:43 am EDT

On World Mental Health Day, the provincial government has announced it’s making a big push to improve the mental health of students across Ontario.

“Too many students are struggling with their mental health and well-being,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said in a statement.

“I am proud to be a member of this government that is applying a compassionate eye to making mental health a priority by more than doubling mental health supports for our kids.”

Lecce announced that the province would be investing nearly $40-million in funding to “advance student mental health in partnership with education groups.”

The bulk of the money, $25 million, will go toward permanently funding approximately 180 frontline mental health workers in secondary schools across the province. Those include social workers, psychologists and psychotherapists.

“Too many families have waited too long for the mental health services they require for themselves, and for their children. By investing in frontline programs and services, we will continue moving forward to create a mental health system in Ontario that fully supports our students,” Michael Tibollo, associate minister of Mental Health and Addictions, said.

The rest of the funding will be dispersed between eight other organizations and programs including the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board through the School Mental Health Ontario program, the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program, Kids Help Phone and the WE Schools Program.

“Mental health is a key component of an individual’s overall health, so I applaud the government for making these valuable investments,” Katherine Hay, president and CEO of Kids Help Phone, explained. “Today’s announcements will make a big difference in the lives of students and their families.”

The province says this funding more than doubles the funding from 2017-18.

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