Health Quality Ontario is calling for publicly-funded, internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy for mild to moderate depression and anxiety disorders.
Under the guidance of the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee, HQO released its final recommendation following public feedback of a draft recommendation published in October 2018. This recommendation is based on findings from an HQO health technology assessment and has been approved by its board of directors and shared with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
The committee determined that internet-guided cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) for mild to moderate depression and anxiety disorders improves symptoms and provides good value for the cost. Committee members also considered the lived experience of people with depression or anxiety who described the benefits and limitations of iCBT.
To support individuals with mild to moderate depression and anxiety currently, Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division offers BounceBack, a free CBT-based skill-building program for adults and youth aged 15 and up. Through one-on-one telephone coaching, workbooks and online videos, participants can learn skills to help them better manage their symptoms of mild to moderate depression and anxiety from the comfort of their homes.
Additionally, Ontario Telemedicine Network currently coordinates Big White Wall, 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. With Big White Wall, users can talk anonymously with other members of the online 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, supportive and remains anonymous.