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Getting Canadians the mental health care they need

MindBeacon & Medavie Blue Cross

Posted by Medavie Blue Cross on May 26, 2021

Research indicates that nearly half of Canadians have experienced a decline in their mental health since the pandemic began. Leading mental health service providers like MindBeacon see the evidence first-hand. The number of clients coming to MindBeacon seeking professional help for anxiety has more than doubled in the same period. More than 100 Canadians sign up for its digital therapy service each day.

Medavie Blue Cross has offered MindBeacon’s digital therapy since 2019. Plan members can access the service through our Connected Care digital health platform.

A conversation on mental health challenges and solutions

In recognition of Mental Health Week — and the heightened need to provide Canadians with easier, faster access to expert mental health care — we held a Facebook Live Event featuring Colleen Adams, Manager, Health & Digital Product Solutions at Medavie Blue Cross in conversation with Candi Chin-Sang (MSW. RSW.), a therapist treating mental health concerns through MindBeacon’s Therapist Guided Program and Live Therapy sessions. Here are excerpts from their conversation.

Colleen Adams, Medavie Blue Cross

Colleen Adams, Medavie Blue Cross

Candi Chin-Sang, MindBeacon

Candi Chin-Sang, MindBeacon

Colleen Q: What can you tell us about the mental health of Canadians?

Candi A: More than ever, Canadians are finding it difficult to manage new stressors and negative emotions as the third wave of the pandemic weighs heavily on their minds. A recent Ipsos survey found that 56% of Canadians are feeling increased stress or anxiety as a result of COVID-19-related challenges and uncertainties. It’s a trend that underscores the importance of providing easily accessible mental health support to anyone who needs it.

Younger Canadians (18-34) report being particularly affected, with 63% saying they are feeling increased stress or anxiety, while 46% of older Canadians (55+) reported increased stress or anxiety.

In regard to depression, the number of people scoring in the severe range has doubled.

Colleen Q: Can you tell us more about iCBT. What kind of things are people reaching out for and how does it help?

Candi A: MindBeacon's Therapist Guided Program is based on iCBT (internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and is an 8-to-12-week self-paced program designed around modules that include educational readings, dynamic exercises and worksheets to treat a number of different concerns: depression, anxiety, stress, chronic pain and so much more.

  • Our therapists offer guidance, validation and support, answer questions and provide feedback.
  • Through this program, patients gain the skills they need to strengthen their mental health and build resiliency.
  • Our therapists are able to tailor the program to each patient, adding modules from other programs based on the patient’s symptoms, such as generalized anxiety, post-traumatic stress, insomnia, pain or relationships and communication (though we don’t provide couple’s counselling through the Therapist Guided Program).
  • All work is completed online and patients are able to message their therapist at any time through our platform ― an improvement over face-to-face CBT, which generally offers one weekly session with a therapist. If a client opts for Live Therapy, they receive digital therapy support, backed by CBT principles.
  • There are no appointments to keep which means it’s suitable for anyone who has a busy schedule.
  • You never have to talk to anyone, so if a patient is uncomfortable talking about their concerns and feelings, the Therapist Guided Program is a great fit.
  • Patients can also access their transcript with their therapist for up to one year. This means if they forget the response to a question with some tips or any resources they’d like to access, they can always go back and re-visit the conversation.
  • It’s confidential too. Our therapy is offered via our private and secure platform.

Colleen Q: Tell us a little bit about the people on the other end of the line. Who are we talking to and what are their credentials?

Candi A: All of our therapists are certified professionals with significant experience in providing therapeutic care. Our therapists are all registered social workers, psychologists or psychotherapists.

We look for therapists who have a master’s degree and who have direct clinical experience to ensure quality of care, as well as a deep understanding of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. We also make sure that our therapists are familiar with the conditions that patients are coming to us with.

Colleen Q: Can you tell me how this is different from meeting with a therapist in-person? Am I getting the same benefit?

Candi A: Online therapy removes a lot of the barriers to traditional face-to-face therapy such as cost, geography, stigma and months-long wait lists. Clients can access care much quicker and still see results. With Live Therapy as well, clients can choose their therapist of choice based on their own preference.

More on MindBeacon

MindBeacon was one of the first mental health providers in Canada to introduce a commercially available, digitally native platform to offer therapist-assisted iCBT in Canada.

MindBeacon is developing a continuum of mental health care options including self-guided psychoeducational and wellness content, Therapist Guided Programs, and Live Therapy Sessions all offered virtually through their secure platform. New program launches this year include an enhanced social anxiety Therapist Guided Program and a brand new Managing Alcohol Use program. Later this year, Coping with Chronic Conditions will also be available as a Therapist Guided Program, an enhanced Stress Management program and more.

More on Connected Care

Our digital health platform, Connected Care, draws on the latest technologies and innovations to offer plan members premium access to the best, most immediate care possible — and often at preferred pricing. The platform supports a suite of innovative health care services including Digital Therapy, Online Doctors (virtual doctor visits), Personalized Medicine (pharmacogenetic testing), Virtual Physio (online rehabilitation services) and our new Diabetes Care Program.

Learn about the benefits

Interested in adding these services to your benefits plan? Reach out to your Medavie Blue Cross representative today to discover their unique features and advantages.

Watch the Recording

Missed the Facebook Live event? No worries. You can watch on-demand (available in English only).

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