Released on May 15, 2023
The Government of Saskatchewan is providing $400,000 in additional funding to support the University of Regina Online Therapy Unit so that Internet-delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (ICBT) can reach as many Saskatchewan residents with mental health and addictions concerns as possible. The increased funding will expand capacity to screen and deliver treatment to more people from across Saskatchewan.
“We are pleased to provide this investment boost to the ICBT program and better address the growing demand for this innovative service,” Mental Health and Addictions Minister Everett Hindley said. “This online resource offers a convenient, easy way to access mental health and addictions treatment and support from anywhere in the province, including rural and remote areas.
ICBT provides an effective, flexible alternative to in-person therapy. People across the province can access this resource free of charge. More than 13,000 individuals have received its services since 2013.
The Online Therapy Unit, with clinical support from the Saskatchewan Health Authority, provides effective online treatment to Saskatchewan residents experiencing depression, anxiety, substance misuse or difficulties coping with chronic health conditions. Individuals can self-refer to the program. A screening is completed by the Online Therapy Unit and if the service is appropriate, they are matched to a therapist and begin the treatment modules.
Adults complete educational modules with therapist support to learn about their condition and strategies to cope. They can review online material from the location of their choice, at their convenience and reach out to a therapist at any time through a secure system.
More information on the service is available at https://onlinetherapyuser.ca/.
In 2023-24, over $1.6 million is being invested to support this valuable service within the continuum of mental health and addiction services in Saskatchewan.
Additional one-time funding of $150,000 was provided to the Online Therapy Unit in 2022-23 for program enhancements including new resources, ensuring content is appropriate to the diverse needs of clients, adapting course materials to better support the varied learning styles and literacy levels of clients, and promoting awareness of the service.
ICBT was developed by the Online Therapy Unit under the leadership of Dr. Heather Hadjistavropoulos at the University of Regina and is delivered by the Online Therapy Unit, and through an established partnership with the Saskatchewan Health Authority. Interest in the ICBT program has grown steadily over the years.
“The Online Therapy Unit team is thrilled with this investment to help us to continue to provide, improve, and expand our effective and convenient internet-delivered, cognitive behavioural therapy (ICBT) programs to Saskatchewan residents,” Psychology Professor and Director of the University of Regina's Online Therapy Unit Dr. Heather Hadjistavropoulos said. “Our clients tell us they prefer this method of mental health care and get incredible results that improve their mental health and well-being. This funding ensures that our services will now be able to benefit even more Saskatchewan residents.”
"Online therapy gave me tools to improve my mental health, and my attitude toward situations and myself,” an anonymous client said following ICBT treatment. “It’s helped me get back to the things I enjoy that are meaningful to me.”
Since launching in 2015, the Government of Saskatchewan has invested approximately $9 million for ICBT.
The total mental health and addictions investment in 2023-24 is $518 million, the largest in Saskatchewan's history. Over $100 million has been provided for targeted mental health and addictions initiatives since 2018-19.
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University of Regina