05 May 2020 – Government expands virtual mental health services during COVID-19

Type of Intervention: New Tool / Service / Body
Sectors Involved: Health
Intervention Categories: Finance policy and financial aid; Financial aid to health services
Level of Jurisdiction: Ontario
Lead People/Agency: Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

Overview: The Ontario government has expanded virtual mental health services to support Ontarians experiencing anxiety and depression, including frontline health care workers, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) programs have been developed in partnership with MindBeacon and Morneau Shepell, and will be provided at no out-of-pocket costs to Ontarians. The province has also created a Mental Health and Addictions COVID-19 Response Table to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on accessing mental health services. The Response Table will identify concerns, implement quick solutions, support virtual care strategies and connect with other COVID-19 regional and provincial tables to ensure issues impacting the mental health sector are resolved in a timely manner.
Full details here: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/05/ontario-expands-virtual-mental-health-services-during-covid-19.html

Type of Justification: Providing support
Evidence/Justification: The justification given for the creation of these virtual services and Mental Health and Addictions COVID-19 Response Table is to expand access to services and supports that will help Ontarians cope with anxiety, isolation, and stress. The Table is led by the Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence at Ontario Health, and aims to resolve issues in the mental health and addictions system quickly and efficiently during the pandemic.