Our mental health affects every aspect of our lives – from our performance at work or school to our relationships with others and the way we think. When someone is battling anxiety, addiction, depression or other mood disorders, it can become difficult to function on a day-to-day basis.
“Since the beginning of COVID-19, we have been seeing some very troubling trends in mental health and addiction,” says Lanie Schachter-Snipper, the national director of outpatient services at EHN Canada.
“There are increased rates of addiction, overdoses and addiction-related deaths, as well as an increase in rates of anxiety, depression and suicide. Those who never or rarely experienced mental health issues pre-pandemic are reporting new issues emerging and those who had preexisting conditions are reporting the worsening of symptoms.”
EHN Canada is a network of inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment services available across Canada. Its Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) are accessible online and can provide mental health support to those with symptoms that are not severe enough for hospitalization.
According to Schachter-Snipper, there are a handful of reasons why those battling mental health issues and addiction are enrolling in the virtual outpatient programs.
The pandemic has intensified mental health struggles
Over the past year, many people have experienced anxiety and depression as a result of pandemic-related changes and social isolation. Those battling these negative feelings often develop and rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms in order to feel good in the moment. These can include alcohol or substance abuse, risky or dangerous behavior and even self-harm.
“Sadly, the pandemic has left many people without the mental health services that they relied on prior to March 2020, as the agencies and organizations relying on the in-person care model have had to close down their brick-and-mortar sites,” says Schachter-Snipper.
EHN Canada’s IOPs are suitable for individuals with mild-moderate symptoms such as:
- sudden disinterest in socializing;
- aches and pains;
- sleep disruptions;
- appetite or weight changes and heightened cravings;
- excessive worrying;
- feeling nervous, restless or tense;
- a sense of impending danger, panic or doom;
- increased heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating or trembling;
- the abuse of alcohol, drugs or gambling;
- social or interpersonal problems related to substance use;
- social withdrawal;
- increased substance tolerance and use;
- repeated attempts to control substance use or quit;
- physical or psychological problems related to substance use;
- and the disengagement from regular activity to use a substance.
“An IOP is an ideal option for someone who is noticing that their mental health and addiction symptoms are worsening and that whatever they were doing before to address their symptoms is no longer enough,” says Schachter-Snipper.
“These are folks whose work and home lives are being impacted by their symptoms and may be at risk of experiencing significant consequences, like job disruption or family strife, if they don’t get more intensive treatment.”
Accessible and affordable treatment
In order to accommodate clients’ busy schedules, the IOPs offer programming throughout the day and on evenings and weekends.
“EHN Canada has been offering online therapy for more than 10 years. When COVID-19 emerged, we were able to leverage our existing expertise and online platform, Wagon Health Solutions, to seamlessly transition our in-person clients to online care without interruption,” she says.
“Our team of in-house online clinicians has specialized training and experience in virtual groups for treatment. This allows them to build rapport and deliver high-quality services online in a way that others are not able to.”
The programming included in an IOP comes at a rather affordable cost. While an in-person therapy session typically costs between $120 to $200 per hour, IOPs bundle individual and group therapy together to provide over 170 hours of treatment across 12 months at approximately $38 an hour.
Get effective assistance immediately
There are few things worse than being put on a lengthy waitlist when you need the support and advice from a therapist or counsellor. By the time you finally get an appointment, your concern has likely worsened.
“EHN Canada’s IOPs bundle services to make it as easy as possible for individuals to get comprehensive care in a timely manner. We bundle together all the crucial elements of an effective mental health and addiction program to make it as easy and effective as possible for the client,” says Schachter-Snipper.
With rolling intake, an IOP can be started immediately and the treatment is more intensive than meeting with a therapist or support group once a week.
“The programs include eight weeks of intensive therapy and each week consists of individual therapy, group therapy, family support and access to an app that should be used in parallel with the therapy,” she says. Clients will also participate in a 10-month aftercare program, which allows them to practise their new healthy habits in a group that is guided by a clinician.
“Just know that you are not alone. There are millions of other people suffering in Canada and we are here to help.”
To see a demo of the IOP platform in action, visit:
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs assistance immediately, call the EHN Canada team for urgent help at 866-219-6713.