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Home › Resources › Advancing the Evolution – Insights into the State of e-Mental Health Services in Canada

Advancing the Evolution – Insights into the State of e-Mental Health Services in Canada


Despite the widespread prevalence of mental health problems and illnesses, it is estimated that fewer than one-third of Canadians affected by them will seek treatment. With high rates of mental health problems and low access levels for traditional mental health services (delivered one-onone, in-person at a clinic settings), there is an urgent need for innovative approaches to service provision. This, combined with exponential growth in communication technologies and the development of effective digital interventions to address mental health, has made improving the design and application of e-health technologies a mental health priority of national concern. In fact, Canada’s first mental health strategy, Changing Directions, Changing Lives, recommends that technology be used in myriad ways, to “foster collaboration, increase access to services, and engage people in managing their mental health problems and illnesses.”

As a result of this scan, challenges in the implementation of e-mental health in Canada are identified, along with opportunities to build on existing strengths and areas for growth in the planning of e-mental health services and programs in Canada to ensure their adoption, successful implementation, and evaluation. Notably, it is important to:

  • Strengthen e-mental health research and development.
  • Engage in knowledge translation across the country and across the globe.
  • Ensure people with lived experience and their caregivers are engaged as partners and co-designers throughout the design, development and implementation of e-mental health innovations.
  • Pursue the integration of e-mental health as part of broader – and necessary – mental health service transformations.
  • Adopt an implementation science approach to enhance the likelihood of translating successful research outcomes to community practice settings.


Our aim for the online scan was to identify e-mental health programs and initiatives, which we broadly defined as any an e-mental health program operating as part of mental health service delivery through a hospital or community-based service provider, and/or as a component of a government’s mental health strategy. We did not include initiatives related generally to e-health (e.g., electronic medical records). We used data extraction tools to identify key features of these initiatives for summary purposes, with a focus on identifying gaps in knowledge and practice which should be filled to inform the strategic planning.

Goals of the Scan

We set three primary goals for our scan:

  • to identify current and proposed initiatives addressing e-mental health in Canada
  • to identify challenges in the implementation of e-mental health in Canada
  • to identify resources and opportunities in e-mental health in Canada.

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