Leveraging virtual care for young adult mental health support
One in five Canadians lives with mental illness, reports a study by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). It is perhaps not surprising that the annual economic cost arising from mental health challenges in Canada is estimated to be at least $50 billion. According to the MHCC, the needs of young adults with mental illness are not currently being met by traditional mental health services. In addition to the economic costs, young people face social stigma when they are seeking care for mental health challenges.
With support from the Health Technologies Fund (HTF), NexJ Health launched a platform that addresses the need for innovative technology solutions for young adults with mental health challenges. The NexJ Connected Wellness platform supports education, collaboration, engagement, intervention, and goal-focused coaching and is accessible via a mobile app, tablet, or computer.
Once registered, a client is matched with a peer coach for ongoing support, check-ins, access to educational content and guided therapy. The program enables integrated, coordinated care and helps young people access mental health services in a way that is familiar to them.
“NexJ Connected Wellness is a solution that fills this gap in the mental health space, providing opportunities that improve access to care for young adults struggling with mental health issues,” says Gary Baksi, Executive Vice President and General Manager of NexJ Health. “In this community-based project, the providers from Reconnect Community Health Services and Stella’s Place, as well as at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton — Youth Wellness Centre, use NexJ Connected Wellness for virtual care and online support for up to 1,000 young adults to augment their current on-site delivery practices.
“NexJ Connected Wellness is expected to increase efficiency and enhance the capacity of these organizations to support young adults in Toronto and Hamilton to achieve enhanced self-management and improved health outcomes while delivering a shift to community-based care.”
The project helped NexJ Health increase capacity by hiring new staff members, including a project manager, as well as several clinical and peer support workers at Stella’s Place, who were trained to deliver care and coaching using the platform. In the next year, the company anticipates continued growth associated with this project, and will continue to expand the team.
The company has plans to scale and spread its technology-driven mental health solution to integrated service hubs and other mental health care settings provincially and nationally, once the initial project has concluded, providing young adults across Ontario and Canada with enhanced support to manage their mental health.