E-Mental Health Report Provides Roadmap for Reducing Wait Times and Improving Care

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Mental Health Commission of Canada, together with Memorial University released a report outlining the success of a brand-new way of improving access to mental health services.

The report, Newfoundland and Labrador Stepped Care 2.0 E-Mental Health Demonstration Project, details the outcomes of an 18-month project which used an approach called Stepped Care 2.0 to provide clients with rapid, flexible, same-day care, in combination with e-mental health apps, online self-help services and behavioural prescriptions. This project was a contributing factor in the reduction of wait times in mental health and addiction counselling services in the province by 68 per cent.

Stepped Care 2.0 is an evidence-based system that organizes care according to the least intensive and most effective options. Clients are given the greatest likelihood of improvement with the most cost-effective, minimally invasive intervention. Treatment intensity can either be stepped up or stepped down based on client need.

Sixty-seven per cent of the e-mental health tools were given a rating of good or excellent by clients, while providers reported a significantly increased comfort level with incorporating these technologies into their conventional practice. This approach includes e-mental health, client-centred flexible care when and where needed, and rapid access to single session counselling, all of which show promise as solutions to stagnant waitlists and overloaded crisis care.