New Provincial Psychotherapy Program Helping Ontarians Access Care

May 09, 2019

Mental Health Partners

Ontario’s four stand-alone mental health and addictions hospitals – collectively known as the Mental Health Partners - are marking Mental Health Week by celebrating the positive impact of the new provincial structured psychotherapy program.

The Mental Health Partners consists of The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores), The Royal Ottawa Health Care Group (The Royal) and Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care (Waypoint). Together, they are advancing high quality mental health care in Ontario alongside other hospitals and mental health providers across their communities.

In any given year, one in five Canadians experiences a mental illness or addiction problem. Sadly only 1/3 of people who need mental health services actually receive them.

The Mental Health Partners are working together to build a stronger, more coordinated and consistent system of care across the province by improving access and coordination of services, sharing best practices, and by using a joint platform to advocate for justice for people with mental illness.

One example of the Mental Health Partners work has been coordinating the Increasing Access to Structured Psychotherapy (IASP) demonstration project that provides face-to-face Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Ontarians struggling with anxiety or depression. The project is delivered in collaboration with community mental health and primary care providers. Ontario’s structured psychotherapy program, supported by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC), is a 3-year investment that began in 2016/2017. The goal is to expand the availability of psychotherapy services to Ontarians who suffer from depression and anxiety. The program offers three independent initiatives: (1) Increasing Access to Structured Psychotherapy Program (IASP), (2) BounceBack and (3) Big White Wall.

Since IASP launched in fall 2017, thousands of people across Ontario have received publicly-funded CBT. For Jessica Fraser, a general manager at a national fitness organization, wife and mother, she shared that receiving CBT has saved her life.

After experiencing a number of traumatic and stressful situations, Jessica felt that she was no longer able to cope and contemplated taking her life. Her doctor referred her to the CBT program.

“CBT has been immensely useful. In addition to the therapy sessions, you receive a workbook to guide your therapy throughout the treatment and it gives you things to work on in between sessions. The self-check in assessments really helped me track how I was feeling with my clinician over time and I could see my progress as I worked through the program. I am not completely healed but I continue applying what I learned during CBT as I focus on rebuilding my life and my family.”

The Mental Health Partners have been collaborating since 2010 to improve patient outcomes in the mental health sector and foster transparency and accountability of services for our communities. Other initiatives of The Mental Health Partners include a collaboration with other hospitals in Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Manitoba (Mental Health and Addictions Quality Initiative, or MHAQI) to standardize measurements of key health outcomes for mental for all.

​For more information, please contact:
Andrea Marshall
Director, Communications, Volunteer Services and CEOD
Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
905.430.4055 ext. 6581