Liberal government to launch $500M fund for youth mental health

Ottawa is setting up a $500-million fund to help community health organizations provide more mental health care to young people.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland made the announcement Tuesday in Ottawa alongside other cabinet ministers, including Ya'ara Saks, the minister of mental health and addictions.

"Many Canadians right now are facing stress and anxiety due to war, geopolitical unrest, climate change, and financial strains," Saks said.

"In this context, young people often do not have the tools that they need to cope in navigating these spaces."

During the 2021 election campaign, the Liberals promised a similar fund for post-secondary institutions to help with the mental health of students.

It was not immediately clear Tuesday whether the new fund is intended to meet that commitment.

Saks said the government opted to fund community organizations in order to take a broader approach, given not all young people are on post-secondary campuses.

The fund marks the latest in a string of campaign-style, pre-budget announcements from the Liberal government.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the budget will be focused on young people — particularly on helping them own or rent an affordable home.

Freeland is set to deliver the federal budget next Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 9, 2024.

The Canadian Press