The province of Ontario is giving a substantial donation to Georgian College to create new support for students with mental health issues.

The Ontario government invests more than $9 million a year into mental health programs for post-secondary students and has promised more than $682,000 for a new Georgian College mental health project to add to their existing services.

“This funding is going to allow us to expand that role to students with addiction issues as well as helping students from high school to our college,” says Karen Baker with Georgian College.

“We know that young people are particularly vulnerable to mental health issues, in fact a staggering 70% of mental health and addiction problems begin with our young people,” says Barrie MPP Ann Hogarth.

More than 1,500 students a year use Georgian’s mental health support services.

“With 1 in 5 having a mental health disorder it’s something more people should talk about especially at a school our size,” says Georgian College student Stephanie Good.

Good volunteers with Georgian Mental Health Services and says she knows of three students who have attempted suicide in the last year. She understands their despair and wants to help. She’s harmed herself in the past and has lived with clinical depression for years.

“Coming to college I couldn’t just leave it at home. I had to take it with me. I lived in residence and I found it very difficult and continued to self-harm and once I started coping with and being ok and accepting that depression and mental health is something you’re going to live with and its okay.”

The province says the money announced on Friday should be arriving to the school before the start of summer.