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New online platform launches to provide people across Canada with immediate mental health and substance use support as COVID-19 escalates

By Homewood Health/ Kids Help Phone - Apr 16th 2020
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TORONTO, April 16, 2020 /CNW/ - People in Canada, regardless of where they live or their age, can access immediate virtual mental health and substance use support with the launch of Wellness Together Canada, a historic initiative launched through a joint venture with Stepped Care Solutions, Kids Help Phone and Homewood Health, supported by Greenspace Health, in response to growing mental health concerns with the escalation of COVID-19.

A "one-stop shop" online portal, Wellness Together Canada provides a "stepped care" model offering services that range from immediate crisis support to mental health screening and self-assessment tools, peer-to-peer support, educational resources, e-courses, access to virtual Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and access to counselling support by phone, text or live chat. The initiative is the first and only online platform of its kind offering immediate mental health and substance use support to all people in Canada in every province and territory in English and French.

"Mental wellness is difficult to maintain with the disruptions happening now. It's not easy to maintain a routine. People in every community are struggling and need our help. That's why we are acting today to make professional resources more easily accessible to Canadians" said, The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health.

Stepped care is a care delivery model developed by psychologist Dr. Peter Cornish to ensure individuals are able to access the level of support appropriate to their needs while also creating a more efficient and effective healthcare system. "Wellness Together Canada is a perfect example of the power and possibilities of the stepped care model when put into action," says Dr. Cornish. "The model aims to empower people to access the support they need at the moment they need it, whether that's simply an article that helps them to better understand what they're experiencing or a direct line to a trained counsellor in a moment of crisis. Wellness Together Canada is providing the full range of solutions to everyone in Canada, allowing individuals to make decisions about the care they require and providing the resources to access it."

Each service delivery partner brings their unique services and expertise to the partnership.

With a 30-year history as Canada's only nationally available e-mental health solution for young people, Kids Help Phone is offering access to its phone-based single-session counselling services and its texting service for youth, Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone, which can be accessed by texting 686868. To further extend its support to Canadians of all ages, Kids Help Phone is also launching Crisis Text Line Canada – a new evolution of its existing texting service that will be exclusively available to adults and seniors. Crisis Text Line Canada can be accessed by texting WELLNESS to 741741 for immediate support.

"COVID-19 is both a public health crisis and a mental health crisis," says Katherine Hay, President and CEO of Kids Help Phone. "Kids Help Phone alone has experienced a nearly 400% increase in calls/texts related to COVID-19 since mid-March, pointing to the depth and breadth of the mental health impact on Canada's youth. Now, as Canada navigates through this unprecedented period in our history, we are committed to opening up our services to people of all ages, in every part of Canada, along with our incredible partners through the launch of Wellness Together Canada. We are actively building our team of trained professional counsellors and volunteer Crisis Responders to ensure we're ready and able to meet the needs of every single person who reaches out to us for support."

Homewood Health has been supporting Canadians with mental health, trauma and addiction treatment and support since 1883. With a complete suite of services that includes a leading Canadian Employee Assistance Program, return to work services, outpatient and inpatient treatment and much more, Homewood is a leader in evidence-based treatment and care. Through Wellness Together Canada, Homewood Health is offering single and multi-session counselling for adults via phone and video as well as online educational resources.

"For Canadians living with mental health or substance use issues, times of crisis can exacerbate their challenges or destroy their recovery efforts," says Jagoda Pike, President and CEO of Homewood Health. "Everyone at Homewood is profoundly proud to be able to support Canadians during this crisis. As always, and particularly during these deeply uncertain times, it is our goal to ensure that no one feels alone in their time of need."

The joint venture partners are pleased to be working alongside Greenspace Health, a Toronto-based leader in mental healthcare technology. Greenspace's technology will act as the central online portal, where Canadians can access the many resources and supports available in this stepped care solution, while regularly tracking the impact on their mental well-being. "This is an opportunity to bring a scientific and technology-driven approach to mental health services," says Jeremy Weisz, CEO of Greenspace Health. "Wellness Together Canada represents an amazing feat of collaboration, designed to provide the right supports to each individual at the right time." In addition, Wellness Together Canada will be working with many e-mental health platforms, available through this portal, to enable a robust stepped care solution for all Canadians.

Stepped Care Solutions, Kids Help Phone and Homewood Health, along with Greenspace Health, extend their deepest gratitude to Health Canada and the Government of Canada for their visionary investment and partnership to launch Wellness Together Canada.

About Wellness Together Canada: Wellness Together Canada is an innovative new joint venture between Canadian mental health leaders Kids Help Phone, Stepped Care Solutions and Homewood Health, and supported by Greenspace Health, to offer a full range of mental health support to people of all ages in every part of Canada. It is available in both English and French as an online portal/website and can be accessed at Wellness Together Canada is funded by Health Canada.

About Stepped Care Solutions: Stepped Care Solutions is a Canadian not for profit consultancy group that aims to promote mental wellness by transforming the mental health system. We collaborate with organizations and service users to improve access and deliver flexible service by providing a framework that organizes a wide range of care options. Stepped Care Solutions brings together health and industry partners to design convenient, effective, and innovative care models that meet the needs of all Canadians.

About Kids Help Phone: Kids Help Phone is Canada's only 24/7 national service offering professional counselling, information, referrals and volunteer-led text-based support for young people. Kids Help Phone's free, anonymous services are available in both English and French. Kids Help Phone is a registered Canadian charity, and raises the majority of revenue from individuals, foundations, corporations, and community fundraising. Visit for more information.

About Homewood Health: Homewood Health is a Canadian leader in the development and delivery of national, evidence-based mental health, trauma, and addiction treatment and services since 1883. Homewood's complete suite of services includes employee and family assistance programs, assessments, outpatient and inpatient treatment, recovery management, return to work and family support services, all tailored to meet the needs of individuals, clinical and institutional referrers, insurers and employers. Homewood Health's innovative approaches are redefining how Canadians access mental health and addiction treatment and support in order to help them live healthier, more productive and fulfilling lives. Visit for more information.

About Greenspace Health: Greenspace Health is a Canadian technology company that improves the way that mental healthcare is accessed, measured and delivered. Greenspace works with healthcare organizations and health systems to facilitate a better model for intake and triage into care and to more effectively measure an individual's progress in treatment, while generating valuable clinical outcome data. Greenspace is research-based and designed to help drive better mental health outcomes for all Canadians. More information can be found at:

SOURCE Kids Help Phone

For further information: For more information, or to request an interview, please contact: Lindsey Coulter, Director, Strategic Communications & Community Engagement, Kids Help Phone, | 647-390-4841

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