Ontario More Than Doubles Mental Health Funding for Students
On October 10th, World Mental Health Day, Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce announced the Ontario government's commitment to more than double funding investments in students' mental health. 70 per cent of mental health and addictions issues begin in childhood or adolescence and in Ontario 1 in 5 students in grade 7 - 12 rate their mental health as fair or poor.
Amongst the $40 million to be invested to advance student mental health in partnership with education groups, $25 million is committed to enable permanent funding for approximately 180 frontline mental health workers in secondary schools (social workers, psychologists and psychotherapists). The goal is to reduce wait time and improve access to critical services.
View the Ministers' announcement.
View details of the funding investments.
Implications for Occupational Therapists
As mental health professionals, occupational therapists could bring their unique skillset and perspectives to frontline mental health professional roles in secondary schools. While the announcement doesn't label occupational therapists specifically, OTs are able to use the title psychotherapist and could position their mental health competencies to school boards for frontline mental health roles.
OSOT and Ontario occupational therapists have long positioned the need for attention to school based mental health services. Occupational therapists working in the school system currently work with students who are often at risk of mental health issues, particularly as they age into adolescence.
OSOT will continue to position occupational therapists as eligible for these school-based roles and urge members to consider the opportunity to develop skills to address the mental health needs of students in Ontario's school system. Interested to assist? Contact OSOT's Child and Youth Mental Health Team.