The provincial government is taking a new step towards making Ontario's mental health services more extensive and accessible. The new "Mindability" program, announced on March 3, will give provincial individuals free therapy and other tools for mental health struggles like anxiety and depression. It reportedly aims to help 80,000 people in the first year.

In a release issued Tuesday, Minister of Health Christine Elliott announced a new plan aimed at providing easier access to "higher quality care".

In particular, the release announced it will be providing and funding what it calls "evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy" for Ontarians aged 10 and up.

And the government wants to emphasize that Ontarians won't have to be paying out of their own earnings for this help, either.

"Mindability will be funded just like OHIP, with no out-of-pocket cost to patients," said Elliott, per the Huffington Post.

“Through this groundbreaking program, an individual will receive an assessment from a trained mental health clinician and offered a therapy program that best addresses their level of need.”

According to City News, this innovation will cost the government $20 million and launches in spring 2020. Its goal is to treat 80,000 people within its first year.

 

Elliot says that an eligible individual will be offered a therapy program that will be catered to their level of needed support.

According to the CAMH website, cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT, "focuses on the here-and-now, on the problems that come up in day-to-day life" and helps people put these in perspective and understand the things that are impacting their mental health.

According to the Toronto Star, Elliott said the government increased mental health spending by $174 million last year.

However, NDP leader Andrea Horwath argued the pledged $20 million to launch Mindability is "a drop in the bucket" after the Ford government's past health cuts.

Ontarians latest vow to help its residents tackle their mental health issues comes after Doug Ford's government has received scrutiny in the past over the theme.

Premier Ford, in particular, received backlash after making offensive comments back in summer 2019.

Ontario, though, has also invested millions in mental health services in the province's high schools.

And, just last month, U of T announced its partnership with CAMH which would see their students offered free aid.

Per the release, Mindability's services will include internet-based interactives, personal workbooks, and by-phone and/or in-person counselling.

Face-to-face, group and individual therapy would also be part of the therapy.

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