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The Ford government is pledging $40 million towards mental health initiatives for students, including “permanent funding” for roughly 180 mental health workers in secondary schools made up of school psychologists and therapists, reports CBC.
“Too many students are struggling with their mental health and well-being,” said Education Minister Stephen Lecce 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.”
A news release from the government indicated that one in five students between grade seven to grade 12 say they are in “fair” or “poor” mental health.
The funding will go toward a number of different agencies, school boards, non-profits, and front line organizations, including Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Canada, and Kids Help Phone.
“Mental health is a key component of an individual’s overall health, so I applaud the government for making these valuable investments,” said president and CEO of Kids Help Phone Katherine Hay in a statement.
“Today’s announcements will make a big difference in the lives of students and their families.”
The announcement came just hours after Toronto Mayor John Tory called on the Trudeau government to invest in mental health and addiction programs.
“Without additional federal investments in comprehensive, accessible services and supports directly in communities, we will never help these many individuals that so obviously need a path to recovery, stability, and wellness,” said Tory in a statement.
“On World Mental Health Day, I am pledging to continuing to advocate for additional funding for mental health and addictions treatment. While we will continue to care for those who need help as cities are called upon to do every day, it is past time for there to be a real plan in place, in partnership with both other governments, to give people the support they need before they end up in our emergency rooms or on the street.”