Province Announces Funding for Mental Health Resources During COVID-19

The Province of Ontario is providing emergency funding of up to $12 million dollars to immediately expand online and virtual mental health supports in the Province.

ONTARIO - The Province of Ontario is providing emergency funding of up to $12 million dollars to immediately expand online and virtual mental health supports in the Province.

They are also spending $2.6 million to to hire new psychologists and other mental health workers to support Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) personnel. Premier Doug Ford says they understand how stressful the past three weeks have been. 

"Dealing with an evolving crisis like COVID-19 puts a lot of stress on everyone, including people who are self-isolating, families with kids out of school, and the frontline health care workers and first responders who are keeping us safe each and every day. This very difficult situation will impact different people in different ways, but I can assure everyone we will be there to support you and help you cope in every way we can. Clearly, protecting our health and well-being is everything, and that includes our mental health."

These services will help people experiencing anxiety, stress and other mental health challenges, including people who are unable to access their regular in-person counselling supports. These resources will address the needs of youth and adults and will include more dedicated supports for those working on the frontlines who are dealing with the difficult realities of COVID-19 every single day.

The emergency funding will immediately expand services, based on evidence-informed cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), on a range of platforms including:  

- BounceBack: A guided self-help program for adults and youth aged 15 and over using workbooks with online videos and phone coaching support.

- Kids Help Phone: 24/7 virtual support service offering professional counselling, information and referrals as well as volunteer-led, text-based support to young people in both English and French at 1-800-668-6868.

- Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT): Online CBT , supported by therapists; available in English and French.

- iCBT for frontline health care workers: Online CBT targeted at frontline health care workers experiencing anxiety, burnout or PTSD. Those requiring intensive levels of care could be referred to virtual face-to-face care. 

- Training for Brief CBT-based interventions: Training will be provided to frontline workers in organizations such as Telehealth and emergency departments in order to better support individuals experiencing acute anxiety due to the pandemic.
 

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