One way the Province of Ontario recognizes outstanding leaders in mental health is by awarding scholarships to graduate student research.

Last month the Ontario government announced that the $7,500 Hilary M. Weston Scholarship will go to two graduate students for their outstanding work and contributions to the study of mental health.

Each year, the scholarship is awarded to up to two graduate students enrolled in full-time social work programs at a publicly funded Ontario university.

One winner, Jessica Gardner, is a Master of Social Work student at the University of Ottawa, and will receive the scholarship for her research addressing the effectiveness of mental health awareness initiatives developed by the School of Social Work Mental Health committee that is offered at a postsecondary level.

The other recipient is Megan Gauthier, who is a Master of Social Work student at Wilfrid Laurier University, will receive the scholarship for her research on the impact of psychological trauma on a person’s mental health.

“With the mental health field constantly evolving, we owe it to ourselves and our future to nurture the passion and energy of our young scholars like Jessica and Megan,” said Honourable Hilary M. Weston. “The gains they have made and will make benefit all of Ontario, when so many of us – at one time or another – will struggle with a mental health challenge.”

By the time Canadians reach 40 years of age, one in two have – or have had – a mental illness.

This year, the government has invested an additional $174 million in funding to support much needed mental health and additions services in communities across the province, as a part of a 10 year program to build a comprehensive and connected mental health and additions strategy.  

For more information, see the official provincial news release here.