WINDSOR, ONT. -- The University of Windsor and St. Clair College will receive a total $729,389 from the Ontario government to help students across all campuses better access to mental health and addiction services.

The funding aims to strengthen community partnerships, increase mental health workers and programs and to expand access for students to the provincial mental health and addictions system during COVID-19.

“Mental health has now become an everyday topic as we slowly work to destigmatize these conversations,” Rick Nicholls, MPP for Chatham-Kent-Leamington, said in a news release. “This funding will further help those in need and is especially useful in the high stress environments of post secondary schools.”

The funding comes as part of the province’s $26.25 million investment in mental health for post-secondary students in 2020-2021. The funding will support on-campus and virtual services and to address the needs of vulnerable and diverse groups.

“We are extremely grateful for the provincial government's enhanced support of the mental health services which we provide to our students," said St. Clair College President Patti France. "The incidence of debilitating stress and depression affecting young people has been escalating almost annually, and it has unfortunately been exacerbated by the pandemic. We plan to significantly expand our support services to students with this new provincial funding."

Mental health support for post-secondary students is part of the province’s Roadmap to Wellness plan to build a system to ensure children, youth and adults are receiving appropriate mental health and addictions services.