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Y Media Exclusive: Canada invests $1 million to support mental health through Indus Community Services

Funding is part of a commitment of $100 million to support those most affected by COVID-19

Young people deserve access to mental health and substance use supports when and where they need them. As we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking steps to respond to the evolving needs and concerns of youth, including young people from immigrant and newcomer communities.

Today, the Honourable Kamal Khera, Minister of Seniors, on behalf of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced $1 million in funding to Indus Community Services. The funding will facilitate the provision of mental health support to newcomers, international students, and refugee youth and younger adults in Peel Region’s South Asian communities. The project “Boost Wellness of Transitional Age Youth” aims to support approximately 1,000 youth and younger adults through education and supportive services with an emphasis on reducing isolation, fostering social connections, and promoting mental health and healing in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and post-pandemic recovery.

Minister Khera said, “Recent years have been difficult for the mental well-being of younger people across Canada, particularly newcomers who may face barriers in accessing mental health services that are culturally sensitive. Our government is taking action by providing crucial mental health support to newcomers, international students, and refugee youth and young adults in Peel Region’s South Asian communities. We are fully committed to prioritizing and supporting mental health initiatives for all Canadians, especially those in need.”

Today’s investment builds on the historic announcement the Government of Canada made in February of $198.6 billion over 10 years to improve health care services for Canadians, reduce surgical backlogs, support health workers, and improve integrated mental health and substance use services. We will continue to do whatever it takes to ensure that all people in Canada have the mental health and substance use supports they need to maintain their well-being now, and into the future.

“The Boost Wellness project will enable Indus to promote mental health awareness and to provide much needed culturally appropriate mental health support to racialized youth who lack access to services in underserviced Peel. In addition, International Students and refugee youth often feel forgotten by those who bring them and face enormous personal pressures. The Federally funded Boost Wellness project will enable many local transitional aged young people and their families to regain a sense of balance and move forward to the success they deserve,” Gurpreet Malhotra, Indus Community Services’ CEO, said.

Quick facts

  • This announcement is part of a $100 million investment provided in Budget 2021 to support projects that promote mental health and prevent mental illness in populations disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These include youth; seniors; First Nations, Inuit and Métis; Black and other racialized people in Canada; front-line and other essential workers; and others whose mental health has been—and continues to be—especially impacted by the pandemic. 
  • The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the mental health of people in Canada through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 
  • Mental health promotion and mental illness prevention are critical components for wellbeing and can help reduce demands on the health care system. Community-based projects focussed on mental health promotion have the potential to improve health outcomes over the life course. 
  • Renison University College, at the University of Waterloo, is hosting the Knowledge Development and Exchange Hub for Mental Health Promotion (KDE Hub) to support the projects funded through this investment helping to build a community with shared interests in optimizing mental health promotion and mental illness prevention across Canada.
  • The Wellness Together Canada portal provides free access to educational content, self-guided therapy, moderated peer-to-peer support, and one-to-one counselling with qualified health professionals. If you or a loved one is struggling, you can access the Wellness Together Canada portal, or call 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 741741 (adults) or 686868 (youth).
  • Kids Help Phoneis also available 24/7 with e-mental health service offering free, confidential support to young people in English and French.
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