In March 2016, VCH and PHC launched MindHealthBC
, an online service that would be a starting place for British Columbians to locate mental health and substance use supports.
Funded by the Shared Care Committee, a joint committee of the Doctors of BC and the Ministry of Health, MindHealthBC provides easy access to local and online resources with a focus on anxiety and depression in adults.
It serves as a hub that brings together and consolidates all the information from BC websites such as the Mood Disorders Association of BC, AnxietyBC, Here to Help, Kelty, MindCheck, as well as information on in-person services from VCH and PHC into one trusted and easy to use place.
“The internet provides an unprecedented opportunity for inexpensive, convenient and personalised support for people with mental health concerns and the effectiveness of internet based therapy is well established either on its own or with the support of physicians for people with depression and anxiety disorders,” says Dr. Lakshmi Yatham, physician lead for MindHealthBC, and chair of the project committee. “However, navigating the many available options and identifying what is trustworthy or legitimate can be overwhelming.”
Based on their answers to the MindHealthBC mental health and substance use screening quiz, users are given curated recommendations for next steps and resources to meet their specific needs which can include information pages, self-help workbooks, support groups, and face to face services.
These recommendations are especially helpful for someone who doesn't know all the non-profit sites out there, or is easily overwhelmed filtering through the hundreds of thousands of results they find on Google.
People with mild-moderate depression and anxiety can also access Bounce Back® Online, a free cognitive behavioural therapy based self-help program available from the CMHA BC Division without a doctor’s referral. This stand-alone online portion of Bounce Back® is currently only accessible through MindHealthBC.
Feedback collected through an online survey has been very positive – with most users responding they were more aware to find help and more likely to speak to a health care professional. Users particularly appreciated the safety and privacy of using the website, which does not require a log in and allows them to access supports anonymously from the comfort of their own homes. Users also commented on how easy the website was to navigate and on the extensive resources contained therein.
“It’s a very thorough website with more information about local programs than I have ever found in one place.”
“One stop shop. Easy to get around. Lots of information in one place. Easy to do it by yourself. Great idea!”
“It gives me piece of mind that I can privately do this in my own home.”
Further feedback from user and health care provider interviews is currently being analyzed to assess areas for improvement in the next phase of the project which we hope will include clinician assisted online therapy programs and extending the website throughout the province of British Columbia.
For more information on MindHealthBC or to request free app cards and other promotional materials to share with your patients, contact firstname.lastname@example.org