New Provincial Psychotherapy Program Helping Ontarians Access Care
New Provincial Psychotherapy Program Helping Ontarians Access Care
Posted on 05/09/2019
Mental Health Partners

New Provincial Psychotherapy Program Helping Ontarians Access Care

Ontario’s four stand-alone mental health and addictions hospitals – collectively known as the Mental Health Partners - are marking Mental Health Week by celebrating the positive impact of the new provincial structured psychotherapy program. 

The Mental Health Partners consists of The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores), The Royal Ottawa Health Care Group (The Royal) and Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care (Waypoint).  Together, they are advancing high quality mental health care in Ontario alongside other hospitals and mental health providers across their communities. 

In any given year, one in five Canadians experiences a mental illness or addiction problem. Sadly only 1/3 of people who need mental health services actually receive them.

The Mental Health Partners are working together to build a stronger, more coordinated and consistent system of care across the province by improving access and coordination of services, sharing best practices, and by using a joint platform to advocate for justice for people with mental illness.  

One example of the Mental Health Partners work has been coordinating the Increasing Access to Structured Psychotherapy (IASP) demonstration project that provides face-to-face Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Ontarians struggling with anxiety or depression. The project is delivered in collaboration with community mental health and primary care providers.  Ontario’s structured psychotherapy program, supported by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC), is a 3-year investment that began in 2016/2017. The goal is to expand the availability of psychotherapy services to Ontarians who suffer from depression and anxiety. The program offers three independent initiatives:

(1) Increasing Access to Structured Psychotherapy Program (IASP);
(2) BounceBack; and
(3) Big White Wall. 

Since IASP launched in fall 2017, thousands of people across Ontario have received publicly-funded CBT.  For Jessica Fraser, a general manager at a national fitness organization, wife and mother, she shared that receiving CBT has saved her life. 

After experiencing a number of traumatic and stressful situations, Jessica felt that she was no longer able to cope and contemplated taking her life.  Her doctor referred her to the CBT program.

“CBT has been immensely useful.  In addition to the therapy sessions, you receive a workbook to guide your therapy throughout the treatment and it gives you things to work on in between sessions.  The self-check in assessments really helped me track how I was feeling with my clinician over time and I could see my progress as I worked through the program. I am not completely healed but I continue applying what I learned during CBT as I focus on rebuilding my life and my family.”

The Mental Health Partners have been collaborating since 2010 to improve patient outcomes in the mental health sector and foster transparency and accountability of services for our communities. Other initiatives of The Mental Health Partners include a collaboration with other hospitals in Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Manitoba (Mental Health and Addictions Quality Initiative, or MHAQI) to standardize measurements of key health outcomes for mental health patients across their organizations, including treatment complexity, access, and staff and patient safety.


“People with mental illness should expect the same level of standardized, evidence-based and quality care that they receive for physical illnesses. This partnership will help to ensure that Ontarians can count on a world class mental health care system when they need it.” Catherine Zahn, President and CEO, CAMH.

“As the demand for specialized mental health care continues to increase, the time is now for us to lead a mental health and addictions system that provides the lifesaving treatments Ontarians need now and in the future.” Karim Mamdani, President and CEO, Ontario Shores. 

“The Mental Health Partners are part of a system that thrives when we work together.  Our coordinated efforts are focused on delivering high quality and standardized care. Doing these things right means doing a better job for our patients, their families, and the entire community.” Joanne Bezzubetz, President and CEO, The Royal.

“Through strong partnerships and projects like IASP, we are engaging with stakeholders in the mental health and addictions system, as well as across health care and the community to advance our collective goals and improve mental health and addictions care for all Ontarians.” Carol Lambie, President and CEO, Waypoint.

About Mental Health Partners:
Mental Health Partners is a network of Ontario’s four leading specialty mental health centres - CAMH, Ontario Shores, The Royal and Waypoint.  Working with our partners, we will build a better system of mental health care in Ontario for patients and their families.  We work together to improve access to mental health care in Ontario, reduce wait times for mental health services, and targeting research and innovation to explore new treatment options.  Our aim is excellent mental health care for all.    

For more information, please contact: 
Alisha Tharani, Executive Director
Mental Health Partners