New free online mental health supports
If you are experiencing anxiety or depression, there are two new mental health support services available to people in Ontario.
The goal is to improve mental wellness and get people who are experiencing issues of low mood, anxiety and stress access to help quickly.
One of the new tools is called Big White Wall, which available online for people over the age of 16, who are experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate depression and anxiety.
“Sometimes that can be a very lonely, scary time for them. And if we provide them with some of that support early on, to help some of that mild anxiety, depression, it can help those issues from becoming bigger.” said Stephanie Paquette, the mental health and addictions lead for North East LHIN.
People can self-refer; it's anonymous and available around the clock.
“A lot of students are really attached to their technology, and we appreciate that, and so I often encourage students to use apps or use technology, because it's readily available wherever they are. They can use it at night, they can use it on the weekend.” said Roni Sue Clement, Cambrian College student support advisor.
The other tool is called BounceBack, a free skill building program including telephone coaching and online videos for adults and youth ages 15 and up.
“Mental health can have significant wait lists. This offers another alternative tool to people in Ontario to access the services when it's right for them.” said Sue Tasse, Canadian Mental Health Association.
“At Cambrian, it's our objective to help students succeed academically, but in order to do that more supports are needed to help them on their academic journey.” said Alison De Lusia, of Cambrian College.
Emily Zanini experienced anxiety and emotional issues when she was a post-secondary student five years ago.
“Because it's difficult to understand, it's a really lonely place. So, it was a lot of isolation, and then with that, withdrawing, you kind of go into that dark neighbourhood in your mind.” said Zanini.
She believes the new tools will help students.
“Accessibility for people, and if I would have had this type of support five years ago when I was struggling, it probably would have been really, really helpful.” said Zanini.
Officials say the programs are timely.
There is little or no wait time, help is available online or by phone, options many young people feel comfortable with.