Province to fund mental health workers for high schools
180 mental health workers coming to Ontario high schools
The province has announced that they will provide funding for mental health workers in Ontario secondary schools. These new staff are intended to support students who have mental health concerns, and help them to find the the right services in their communities.
In the 2018/19 school year, there will be funding to support 180 mental health workers, which will expand over time, so that by 2019/20, there will be funding for approximately 400 mental health workers in schools.
For a number of years, principals, in response to People for Education’s Annual Ontario School Survey, have raised concerns about the growth in the proportion of students struggling with mental health issues. The principals have also told us, they lack the staff to support them.
Mental health needs are increasing at an alarming rate and we do not have access to the professional services to truly help these students.
Secondary school, Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB
There will also be funding for school boards with secondary schools to support research and evaluation of the impact of the new mental health workers.
To view board-by-board funding for these staff see Appendix A which outlines funding for a number of programs that are outside the overall Grants for Student Needs.
The province will also continue to fund Mental Health Leaders at the school board level. This funding, along with other funding for leadership positions in school boards, will now be enveloped, and include certain hiring requirements. The role of school board Mental Health Leaders is to work with school and board administrators, school staff, and community partners to help provide access to services, and ensure prompt identification and intervention strategies for students with mental health or addiction issues.
Every board must have at least one full time Mental Health Leader meeting the following standards:
- A senior mental health professional (minimum of Masters level training in
psychology, psychiatry, or social work),
- A regulated mental health professional, and
- Possesses a clinical background with practical experience in schools, working with
school teams to support students