Ontario is expanding mental health services to help those in distress due to COVID19. The province announced a $12 million commitment to virtual mental health services that will help those suffering from anxiety, and depression due to the COVID19 outbreak.
“Even though this virus has taken a heavy toll on our everyday lives, we are doing everything we can to keep people healthy, physically and mentally,” Premier Doug Ford said. The funding will be used to hire new staff, buy necessary equipment and technology as well as create online mental health services including the following:
- Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT): Clients can self-refer to programs through the various service providers listed and be guided through their client journey to find the appropriate supports they need. Online iCBT is supported by therapists and available in English and French.
- Supports for frontline health care workers: Online iCBT is available to frontline health care workers experiencing anxiety, burnout or post-traumatic stress disorder. Those requiring intensive levels of care could be referred to virtual face-to-face care, as well as weekly online peer discussion groups and access to confidential support from a clinician.
- Virtual mental health support services: These include BounceBack telephone coaching and workbooks, and Kids Help Phone for children and youth.
The province has established a Mental Health and Addictions COVID-19 Response Table led by the Mental health and Addictions Centre of Excellence at Ontario Health. “In order to help stop the spread of this deadly virus our frontline workers are working long hours in stressful situations and people across the province are doing their part by staying home, in many cases alone.” We know these actions are not easy and can cause stress, anxiety and other mental health issues. That’s why we are providing virtual mental health supports, allowing people to get the help they need while still physically distancing,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said. For more information visit the website