Two New Free Psychotherapy Services Now Available

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The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Sault Ste. Marie Branch and the North East Local Health Integration Network (North East LHIN) spoke to students at Sault College on Thursday about two new, free psychotherapy services that students can use for help to deal with low mood, stress, and worry.

Both skill-building programs, funded by the Ontario Government for residents of Ontario, are designed to help adults and youth with depression, and anxiety: BounceBack, a telephonecoaching program with workbooks and videos; and Big White Wall, an online peer support and self-management tool.

“The North East LHIN is pleased to be working with the local chapters of the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) to help increase awareness of both Big White Wall and BounceBack across Northeastern Ontario,” said Jeremy Stevenson, North East LHIN CEO. “While the online and telephone based services are ideal for students and youth, they are also available to all adults. The best part is there is little to no wait time– people can get help, they may need, right away.”

Annette Katajamaki, Executive Director of CMHA SSM, has been making presentations to different groups including mental health and addiction professionals, as well as physicians and nurse practitioners on how their clients and patients can benefit from the services.
“We are excited to be able to share these amazing resources with our communities and have received such positive feedback from primary care, addiction and mental health providers as well as social service agencies. For so long we have not paid enough attention to those that have mild/moderate depression and/or anxiety, and this will definitely be of great benefit to people, especially those that are not located close to formal support services,” said Katajamaki.

“Making these two excellent solutions available free across the province will arm Ontarians with valuable resources they can use to help manage anxiety and depression,” said Dr. Ed Brown, CEO, OTN. “We know that students in particular are in need of immediate options to cope, to help with the stress and isolation that can happen with post-secondary education, and to empower them to self-manage.”

Sault College has a long history of collaborating with the CMHA, who has a worker placed at the college a few days a week to provide training to staff as well as meet with students.
“CMHA continues to develop and deliver programming that allows us to ensure our students have access to any and all mental health-related supports that they need to be successful in their academic career at Sault College. BounceBack and Big White Wall are innovative, cost effective supports for our students while they are studying with us, but also once they’ve graduated where access to these types of supports aren’t readily available in many communities, such as Algoma,” said Morgan Levy, Counsellor and Coordinator, Counselling and Accessibility Services.

Big White Wall
Big White Wall (bigwhitewall.ca) is a free online peer support and self-management tool for adults and youth aged 16 and older experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate depression and anxiety. The service, currently only available in English, is available through OTN. People can self-refer and no clinician referral is required. Big White Wall is available around the clock, which means people can access it immediately and at a time when other services are less likely to be available. In fact, 66% of logins to Big White Wall are after regular office hours.

With Big White Wall, users can talk anonymously with other members of the community who are feeling the same way they are. Big White Wall is staffed by trained Wall Guides who make sure that the community is safe and supportive and remains anonymous.

BounceBack BounceBack is a free skill-building program designed to help adults and youth aged 15 and older manage symptoms of depression and anxiety, combat unhelpful thinking, and become more active and assertive. The program offers two forms of help:

Telephone coaching and workbooks: BounceBack has a guided self-help program in which a coach supports you in working through a series of workbooks. The program involves three to six telephone coaching sessions, which you can do from your home. Workbooks and coaching are available in multiple languages.

Online videos: BounceBack Today videos offer practical tips on managing mood, sleeping better, building confidence, increasing activity, problem solving, and healthy living. The videos are available in English, French, Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi, Arabic, and Farsi.

A referral is required to participate in the BounceBack telephone coaching program. Your family doctor or nurse practitioner can provide you with a referral. Alternatively, you can self-refer, but will need to provide your primary care provider’s contact information so that we can contact them on your behalf.