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HomeMedia Centre › Mental Health Commission of Canada e-mental health report provides roadmap for reducing wait times and improving care

Mental Health Commission of Canada e-mental health report provides roadmap for reducing wait times and improving care

From Mental Health Commission of Canada, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Memorial University

Today, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) together with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and Memorial University, launched a report outlining the tremendous success of a brand-new way of improving access to mental health services.

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, so 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, with the “2.0 update” of an added technological – or e-mental health – element. 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.  

The tenets of Stepped Care 2.0, which include e-mental health, recovery principles (client-centred, flexible care when and where needed) and rapid access to single session counselling, show promise as a solution to stagnant waitlists and overloaded crisis care.  

The lessons learned from the report are being shared with provincial and national decision makers, as well as with mental health leaders visiting St. John’s this week for a satellite meeting of the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership. By showcasing a home-grown success story to a global audience, the MHCC, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Memorial University are a road map for improved access to mental health care and addiction services in other provinces and territories, and around the world.


“My home province of Newfoundland and Labrador may be small, but with Stepped Care 2.0, we’ve shown home-grown innovation that has the potential to change how we deliver care across the country. I could not be prouder that we’ve got visiting mental health leaders from New Zealand in attendance today, the country where I first learned about e-mental health.  It’s clear we took those lessons to heart and, in showcasing our progress, have come full circle.”
— Louise Bradley, President and CEO, Mental Health Commission of Canada

“Newfoundland and Labrador is leading the country with its work in mental health and addictions. Towards Recovery: The Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador is making a real difference when it comes to accessing services and programs. We are pleased to have had the opportunity to collaborate on this initiative with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Memorial University, the province’s four regional health authorities, and CHANNAL. We will continue our work in transforming the mental health and addictions system in this province with our partners.
— Hon.  John Haggie, Minister of Health and Community Services, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

“When someone says they are stressed, or they are not feeling happy, then society tends to say, ‘Okay, go see a psychologist.’ However, not everyone needs to see a therapist all the time. The Stepped Care 2.0 model brings in many other ‘low intensity’ options for the client that are readily available in the community, but which we’re often not making use of.”
— Dr. Peter Cornish, Project Lead, Consulting Psychologist, Associate Professor, Memorial University

Quick Facts

  • The Stepped Care 2.0 model contributed to the reduction in wait times by 68 per cent, with some communities reporting no waitlists.
  • 67 per cent of clients rated the quality of e-mental health tools as “good” or “excellent.”
  • 79 per cent of clients reported that e-mental health tools met at least some of their needs.
  • 62 per cent of clients said the e-mental health programs helped them deal with their problems.
  • After the completion of the demonstration project, the team secured $1.2 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to develop a technology platform and evaluate its potential for significantly improving mental health care and access in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.

Project Partners

  • Mental Health Commission of Canada
  • Memorial University
  • Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Newfoundland and Labrador regional health authorities:
    • Eastern Health
    • Central Health
    • Western Health
    • Labrador-Grenfell Health
  • Consumers’ Health Awareness Network of NL (CHANNAL)

Media Relations
Mental Health Commission of Canada
613-683-3748 / media@mentalhealthcommission.ca

Kathy Dicks-Peyton
Health and Community Services
709-729-6986, 699-1982 / kathydickspeyton@gov.nl.ca

Rebecca Rebeiro
Memorial University
709 864 4570 / rrebeiro@mun.ca

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The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for change, an organization designed to recommend improvements to the mental health system on a national level. We are not directly involved in individual cases of advocacy, outreach, service delivery or local supports.