Health and Community Services
September 10, 2019

Mental Health Commission of Canada E-Mental Health Report Provides Roadmap for Reducing Wait Times and Improving Care

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Mental Health Commission of Canada, together with Memorial University released a report outlining the tremendous success of a brand-new way of improving access to mental health services.

The report, Newfoundland and Labrador Stepped Care 2.0 E-Mental Health Demonstration Project, details the outcomes of an 18-month project which used an approach called Stepped Care 2.0 to provide clients with rapid, flexible, same-day care, in combination with e-mental health apps, online self-help services and behavioural prescriptions. This project was a contributing factor in the reduction of wait times in mental health and addiction counselling services in the province by 68 per cent. 

Stepped Care 2.0 is an evidence-based system that organizes care according to the least intensive and most effective options. Clients are given the greatest likelihood of improvement with the most cost-effective, minimally invasive intervention. Treatment intensity can either be stepped up or stepped down based on client need.

Sixty-seven per cent of the e-mental health tools were given a rating of good or excellent by clients, while providers reported a significantly increased comfort level with incorporating these technologies into their conventional practice. This approach includes e-mental health, client-centred flexible care when and where needed, and rapid access to single session counselling, all of which show promise as solutions to stagnant waitlists and overloaded crisis care. 

The lessons learned from the report are being shared with provincial and national decision makers, as well as with mental health leaders visiting St. John’s this week for a satellite meeting of the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership. By showcasing a home-grown success story to a global audience, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Mental Health Commission of Canada and Memorial University are a road map for improved access to mental health care and addiction services in other provinces and territories, and around the world.

In Towards Recovery: The Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador, the province committed to provide greater access to a range of evidence-based mental health services via technology. This initiative delivers on the commitment in The Way Forward to deliver better services and better outcomes for residents. The Way Forward outlines all actions the Provincial Government is taking to achieve a strong, diversified province with a high standard of living, and can be viewed at

“Newfoundland and Labrador is leading the country with its work in mental health and addictions. Towards Recovery: The Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador is making a real difference when it comes to accessing services and programs. We are pleased to have had the opportunity to collaborate on this initiative with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Memorial University, the province’s four regional health authorities and CHANNAL. We will continue our work in transforming the mental health and addictions system in this province with our partners.
Honourable John Haggie
Minister of Health and Community Services 

“My home province of Newfoundland and Labrador may be small, but with Stepped Care 2.0, we’ve shown home-grown innovation that has the potential to change how we deliver care across the country. I could not be prouder that we’ve got visiting mental health leaders from New Zealand in attendance this week, the country where I first learned about e-mental health. It’s clear we took those lessons to heart and, in showcasing our progress, have come full circle.”
Louise Bradley
President and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada 

“When someone says they are stressed, or they are not feeling happy, then society tends to say, ‘Okay, go see a psychologist.’ However, not everyone needs to see a therapist all the time. The Stepped Care 2.0 model brings in many other low intensity options for the client that are readily available in the community, but which we’re often not making use of.”
Dr. Peter Cornish,
Project Lead and Associate Professor with Memorial University 

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Learn more
Newfoundland and Labrador Stepped Care 2.0 E-Mental Health Demonstration Project Final Report PDF Icon

Stepped Care 2.0 Demonstration Project Backgrounder PDF Icon

E-Mental Health Project to Improve Access to Mental Health Services in Newfoundland and Labrador and Lead the Way Nationally external link

Towards Recovery: The Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador PDF Icon

Follow us on Twitter: @GovNL external link, and @HCS_GovNL external link

Media contacts
Kathy Dicks-Peyton
Health and Community Services
709-729-6986, 699-1982 

Media Relations
Mental Health Commission of Canada

Rebecca Rebeiro
Memorial University

2019 09 10                              9:50 a.m.