On April 15, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood in front of his home and declared to Canadians that they are not alone. The federal government launched a program called Wellness Together Canada (wellnesstogether.ca) to provide mental health and substance use support to all Canadians suffering from the impacts of the coronavirus crisis. Encouraging Canadians who may be feeling stigma associated with asking for help, the Prime Minister went on to say, “It’s not easy to deal with everything happening around us. It’s important to not feel embarrassed. If you need the help, what’s important is that you get the help.”
Funded by Health Canada and supported by Patty Hajdu, the federal Minister of Health, Wellness Together Canada provides an online portal that allows Canadians to access self-assessments, self-directed e-mental health tools, peer support and live counselling by telephone, video and text. Homewood Health, (a national mental health and addiction treatment and services organization based in Guelph, ON), Kids Help Phone (a national crisis and mental health support service for kids, based in Toronto), and Stepped Care Solutions (a firm committed to developing better delivery models for mental health treatment, based in St. John’s NL) came together in a joint venture partnership to submit a proposal that was ultimately selected to design and deliver this innovative service to Canadians. Greenspace Health was selected by the partnership to develop and manage the portal.
Homewood’s role in the partnership is to provide telephone triage services as well as free telephonic and video counselling sessions to people in need from all across the country, 24 hours a day. Anyone in need or anyone who wants to talk can access the service at www.wellnesstogether.ca or at 1-866-585-0445.