New app to tackle Canada’s mental health crisis
October 20, 2021
OTTAWA – Millions of Canadians can now have faster access to the mental health support services they need following the launch of iHealthOX, a new employee benefits system and app that uses proprietary technology, personal health data and online healthcare teams to match patients with mental healthcare providers across Canada, often the same day.
iHealthOX was created by Terri Storey (pictured), Canada’s most prolific entrepreneur in the tech and mental healthcare sector. Her experience includes creating one of the largest mental health treatment organizations in Ontario and developing Canada’s first algorithms to instantly match mental health patients with healthcare providers.
In Canada, there aren’t enough mental health specialists to meet the growing need for one-on-one therapy. As a result, the cost of treatments is going up, with people who can afford the expensive hourly rates seeing therapists first, and people who might need therapy the most, often not seeing anyone. Using technology and additional forms of mental healthcare, iHealthOX has created a scalable, high-quality, and cost-effective mental healthcare solution that can meet the demand for mental health services and help those most in need of care.
Through iHealthOX, employees and their family members who need mental healthcare can reach out confidentially to the on-demand iHealthOX healthcare team by phone, text or email. Determining the level of care they need is based on patient intake surveys, clinically validated assessments, member preferences and experiences, and the individualized needs of each user. If they demonstrate a clinical need, the iHealthOX team will personalize a program of sessions with one of more than 1,500 experienced mental health service providers across Canada, often arranging virtual appointments the same day.
Through evidence-based care that includes proven cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and education, those therapists will provide them with the skills and toolkit to successfully manage their stress and anxiety. In addition to creating personalized care plans that take a holistic approach to the user’s long-term health, iHealthOX can proactively reach out to plan members on a regular basis via apps, surveys and check-ins by a certified mental health coach. Members will also have access to self-assessment tools, online content in iHealthOX’s library of self-serve digital courses and meditations, as well as their personal health record, which tracks all their treatments and progress.
Through iHealthOX, families will also have access to Charlie Wellbeing, the first health plan in Canada dedicated to providing teens with confidential on-demand access to licensed therapists and psychologists via desktops, iPads or mobile phones. Across Canada, an estimated 1.2 million children and youth are affected by mental illness, and the demand for youth mental health services has increased dramatically in recent years. Developed by Vancouver-based Matthew Segal, Charlie Wellbeing gives teens the ability to use text, voice and video sessions to connect with professional therapists specifically trained to address anxiety, depression, abuse or more acute issues.
“While the COVID pandemic has helped reveal just how pervasive and serious the mental health crisis is in Canada, it’s also exacerbated the situation and demonstrated how Canada’s current system of accessing healthcare make matters worse and does not adequately consider how we operate today as individuals,” said Storey, CEO, iHealthOX.
“Consequently, despite all the education and energy invested in wellness research and programs today, outcomes are not changing.
“We need to make mental health more accessible and effective for everyone and make it easier for them to navigate their own mental well-being. Thanks to the latest technology and online platforms, distance and travel are no longer barriers to accessing care, and we have numerous ways to connect patients and practitioners in meaningful relationships that suit their needs, preferences and lifestyle.”
Every week, 500,000 Canadians miss a day of work due to mental health issues, costing the Canadian economy $50 billion dollars in direct costs and lost productivity. Those costs will continue to rise significantly as the COVID pandemic continues to affect the mental and physical health of Canadians of all ages. With thousands of Canadians unable to find or see a family doctor, employees are increasingly looking to their employers to address their family’s increasing healthcare needs and coverage. At the same time, employers are struggling with absenteeism and the burden of increasingly expensive employee health plans.
Through iHealthOX and its proactive, holistic and concierge-like approach to comprehensive employee healthcare, employers will reap the benefits of reduced absenteeism and increased productivity from healthier employees, as well as real-time reporting that anonymously aggregates benefit plan financials to facilitate human resources and budget planning. The program’s ability to better meet the growing healthcare demands of employees also has the potential to play a key role in attracting and retaining employees.
Among the numerous high-profile companies and organizations that have turned to Storey for employee health services are the Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, RBC, Microsoft, Ontario Provincial Police, Royal Ottawa Hospital, Shopify, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Government of Nunavut, and Métis Centre of the National Aboriginal Health Organization. Collectively, iHealthOX has already booked 45,000 virtually and in-person appointments for the 150,000 Canadian employees it covers.
Across Canada, iHealthOX has access to more than 1,500 healthcare providers, including naturopaths, MDs, psychiatrists, physiotherapists, mental health nurses, pediatricians, psychologists, wellness coaches and nutritionists. For these healthcare professionals, joining the iHealthOX and Charlie Wellbeing team provides numerous benefits, including: a reduced dependency on waitlists and emergency visits; competitive compensation; reduced overhead by providing their services virtually through teletherapy; and no need to search for patients, which can now be connected to them via iHealthOX and Charlie Wellbeing.
iHealthOX is a health and wellness benefits company for employers that is revolutionizing the delivery of primary and mental health care in Canada by using data and advanced technologies to turn healthcare costs into a high value investment. Through holistic health care plans that use apps, surveys, self-serve digital courses, and personal health coaches to monitor the health of employees and their families, iHealthOX is transforming health care from a reactive to proactive health care benefit that reduces absenteeism and increases employee productivity. For more information, please visit www.ihealthox.com.
About Charlie Wellbeing
Charlie Wellbeing is a teletherapy platform based in Vancouver, B.C. Teletherapy is becoming the new norm among therapists, and is revolutionizing the way young people can access top quality care. Charlie Wellbeing brings teens access to mental health counseling through paid text therapy. For more information, please visit charliewellbeing.com/