October 26th, 2020

AHS partnership aims to offer virtual mental health services

By GILLIAN SLADE on October 9, 2020.

gslade@medicinehatnews.com@MHNGillianSlade

Alberta Health Services has announced a partnership with Togetherall to offer a virtual mental health network.

AHS says the “platform offers safe, anonymous, peer-to-peer supports with a global community” through an online network with mental health services 24/7.

Albertans more than 16 years of age can interact with the virtual peer community or form their own smaller groups. Members have access to a variety of clinically validated, self-guided resources, including assessments, courses, self-help journalling and goal-setting tools. Members can also join courses such as depression and anxiety.

AHS says that clinical moderators monitor the platform to help keep members safe, protect anonymity, and direct users to available and appropriate free resources provided on the platform or by AHS.

“This network will connect Albertans with others during a time when we are physically disconnected. It is so important to maintain our social connections and this platform will provide a way for Albertans to connect with others from all walks of life. We know COVID-19 is impacting individuals’ mental health but we know, together, we will get through this,” said Dr. Nicholas Mitchell, AHS senior medical director addiction and mental health.

You can sign up for Togetherall at http://www.ahs.ca/virtualmentalhealth. Registration requires your postal code, email address, date of birth and country of residence. You will then choose an anonymous username for the platform.

Togetherall was founded in 2007 as a digital mental health and well-being company. It partners with more than 250 organizations across public health care, post-secondary and employer sectors. It is not a crisis intervention tool, and does not offer one-on-one counselling or direct therapy.

“People come to Togetherall for support with a wide range of mental health and well-being issues – from anxiety, depression, isolation and stress, to relationship problems and lifestyle challenges. The safety of members and clinical rigour is at the core of what we do and we have a network of trained professionals to provide 24/7 support for Albertans,” said Matt McEvoy, senior vice president and general manager for Togetherall North America.

AHS says a full privacy impact assessment was conducted and submitted to the privacy commissioner’s office to ensure compliance with Alberta privacy legislation.

“Information collected during registration is accessible only to Togetherall’s senior clinicians for the purposes of risk escalation. All personal data related to Albertans will reside in Canada,” reads a press release.

Togetherall services are available only in English.

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