If you’re living with anxiety or depression, you are not alone. 1 in 5 Canadians experience a mental health or addiction problem in any given year, with mild to moderate depression and anxiety disorders being the most common.
Unfortunately, there are many barriers to accessing mental health services including: stigma, low-income, lack of funded services, rural location, and shortage of mental health professionals.
In fact, research has shown that 60% of people with a mental health problem or illness won’t seek help for fear of being labelled, and almost half of those who feel they have struggled with depression or anxiety have never gone to see their primary care provider about it.
In addition to the stigma, demand for services often exceeds what’s available, and services that are quickly available are often costly.
I know, this isn’t the most uplifting way to start a blog post, but rest assured, I’m about to tell you about a program that was designed specifically to fill this gap.
The BounceBack® Program, developed by Dr. Chris Williams (psychiatrist) in Scotland, has enjoyed nine years of success with over 40,000 clients through the Canadian Mental Health Association (C.M.H.A) in British Columbia. Through funding from the Government of Ontario, the BounceBack® Program is now available throughout our province through C.M.H.A Ontario.
What is the BounceBack® Program?
BounceBack® is a cognitive behavioural therapy-based skill-building program designed for people aged 15+ with mild to moderate depression and/or anxiety. It is an evidence-based program (meaning there’s research to back it up) that has shown an almost 40% decrease in anxiety and depression among its participants. Besides the fact that it’s free, there is also no need to travel anywhere (you can do it from your couch) AND you are guaranteed access within 5 business days (unless you choose the video format option, which is immediate).
The program is offered in two formats:
Telephone coaching and workbooks
This a guided self-help program in which a coach supports you in working through a series of workbooks aimed at improving your emotional well-being. If you choose this option, you will have a 45-minute initial phone call with a coach (who is supervised by a clinical psychologist) to identify your needs. From there you will be sent workbooks based on your needs and have 3-6 sessions which are designed to help you develop new skills, keep you motivated and monitor how you’re doing. There are 20 workbook topics to choose from including: noticing extreme and unhelpful thinking, overcoming sleep problems, being assertive, and practical problem solving.
BounceBack® Today online videos
These videos can be accessed at any time, without referral, and offer practical tips on managing mood, sleeping better, building confidence, increasing activity, problem solving and healthy living.
Both of these options are available in English, French, Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi, Arabic and Farsi.
How do I access the BounceBack® Program?
A referral from your primary care provider (doctor or nurse practitioner) is required in order to participate in the telephone coaching option. This is important so that they can monitor your progress and so that you are linked with medical support if needed. Your provider will be sent progress reports.
There are multiple ways to get a referral:
- You can print the referral form and fill it out with your family doctor or nurse practitioner at your next visit. You can email the completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to (905) 430-1768.
- You can self-refer online. Be sure to include the contact information for your primary care provider (doctor or nurse practitioner) so that BounceBack® can contact them on your behalf.
For help with filling out referrals or for any questions you can call 1-866-345-0224
We at C.M.H.A. H.K.P.R. are very excited about this program and the possibilities it offers to bridge the gap between people in need of support and the support that is available. We hope you check it out if you think it might help you!