St. Lawrence College is receiving some support to help improve its mental health services.
The Ontario government announced its providing the college with $168,640 to help ensure students receive resources they need when they need it.
College President and CEO Glenn Vollebregt says the pandemic has had a tremendous impact on students, which is why it’s so important to help build better services for virtual and on-campus mental health supports.
“Recognizing people can need help, and providing financial support for that help, is an important way Ontario’s government reduces the stigma associated with speaking up when mental health is at risk,” Vollebregt said.
The college will use the funding to support a new project that will implement in-residence, after-hours professional mental health interventions to mitigate experiences of distress and crisis.
Vollebregt says this project will empower students to build social connections, develop coping behaviours, and apply strategies for personal resilience.
“We are grateful for this added investment in our students and their mental health, as it will allow us to bolster resources to ensure access to timely and effective supports,” he said.
MPP for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes Steve Clark says colleges and universities play a vital role in meeting the mental health needs of students, especially during the pandemic.
He says this project will help address the needs of vulnerable and diverse groups, such as Indigenous students, LGBTQ+ students and students with disabilities.
“69 per cent of students have experienced anxiety, 52 per percent have reported they’re feeling depressed,” Clark said. “So, all of those numbers are an increase of what we saw before COVID-19.”
Clark adds that the funding is part of Ontario’s Roadmap to Wellness, which is the government’s plan to build a connected and comprehensive mental health and addictions system.