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GreenShield helps expand access to free mental health services in Ontario

TORONTOJan. 10, 2024 - Improved mental health commonly tops the list of new year's resolutions. However, the costs of mental health services are a roadblock for those looking to better their mental health, with 78 per cent* of Canadians stating that the high cost of psychological services is a significant barrier to access. Today, GreenShield, Canada's only not-for-profit healthcare health and benefits company, announces that it is helping to break down these barriers by providing free mental health services to individuals across the province.

Funded by the government of Ontario, the Ontario Structured Psychotherapy (OSP) program connects adults experiencing depression and anxiety-related concerns to free cognitive behavioural therapy and related services. Among these services is  therapist-assisted, online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) from GreenShield Health, the health services division of GreenShield. Through interactive learning modules, tools and support from therapists, individuals accessing GreenShield's iCBT can develop positive coping strategies at no cost.

"Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective treatments for individuals suffering from mild to moderate anxiety and depression, and we are thrilled that Ontarians can obtain the support they need through GreenShield's trusted therapist-assisted iCBT solution," said Harriet Ekperigin, Vice President of Mental Health at GreenShield.  "As Canada's only national not-for-profit healthcare payer-provider, unlocking access to high quality care is rooted in our DNA."

iCBT works by teaching individuals how their thoughts and behaviours impact their mood, as well as providing strategies to reduce symptoms and cope positively. Through GreenShield's therapist-assisted iCBT program, individuals participate in educational modules and are provided with interactive tools to put learned skills into practice. Participants undergo a standard clinical assessment to determine the most appropriate service based on their specific concerns and preferences and complete the program virtually under the care of a registered therapist.

"We know that the demand for mental health services has surged, with depression and anxiety continuing to show up as the most common challenges Ontarians face," said Joe Blomeley, Executive Vice President, Head of GreenShield Health and Enterprise Growth at GreenShield. "The Ontario Structured Psychotherapy program helps meet this need by offering free and convenient access to effective mental health care across the province."   

Therapist-assisted iCBT is just one of the effective services offered through the Ontario Structured Psychotherapy program. From self-led resources guided by a coach or therapist to one-on-one therapy sessions, participants can benefit from a wide range of services at no cost. Those who are interested in registering for the program can request a referral from their primary care provider or self-refer to one of nine network lead organizations that include hospitals and community organizations. After registration, a trained mental health professional will conduct an assessment and recommend the best form of support.

Outside of its iCBT offering with OSP, GreenShield also unlocks personalized mental health support that clients can easily access anytime, anywhere with its virtual therapy services. "We know that therapy is not a one size fits all approach," said Ekperigin. "That's why GreenShield virtual talk therapy offers a personalized counseling matching tool that includes over 50 matching options, considering culture, race, language and religion, to ensure individuals can find a mental health professional who can relate to their identity and lived experiences. This is just one way we deliver on our promise of providing care built around you."

From live online sessions with a qualified therapist specifically matched to the individual to self-guided online therapy, GreenShield arms its clients with several effective mental health services.  To learn more about GreenShield's mental health services, visit GreenShield Health.

About GreenShield

GreenShield is an integrated health and benefits organization and the first organization in Canada to operate as a payer-provider— offering insurance, administering benefits, and paying claims as a 'payer' while offering health services such as mental health, pharmacy, and medical services as a 'provider.' Integrating both sides of the payer-provider equation enables GreenShield to simplify access to care, remove administrative barriers, and improve health outcomes for its customers.

GreenShield is uniquely structured as a not-for-profit social enterprise that reinvests its earnings and redeploys its services to support underserved Canadian communities via its social impact brand, GreenShield Cares. The company's overarching goal is to generate $75 million of social impact investments to improve the lives of at least 1 million Canadians by 2025, with a focus on mental health, oral health, and essential medicines. As the industry's noble challenger GreenShield continues to innovate, evolving its offerings and services to deepen its purpose of championing better health for all.

GreenShield.ca 

GreenShield means, collectively, Green Shield Canada (GSC), Green Shield Association, and Green Shield Holdings Inc., which is the primary company that houses health services and benefits administration businesses, including Inkblot Therapy, Tranquility, BCH Consultants, NKS Health Canada, The Health Depot Pharmacy, Benecaid, and Computer Workware Inc. Green Shield Holdings Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the not-for-profit Green Shield Association.

*https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/some-canadians-waiting-months-for-public-and-private-mental-health-services-1.6204350