NS expands online service for anxiety, depression
December 7, 2022
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia has expanded an agreement with Tranquility, a program that helps people experiencing depression and anxiety better understand their emotions, thoughts and behaviours and build skills and coping strategies. People using the program are supported by a coach who checks in on their progress and offers ongoing help and motivation.
“Providing better mental healthcare means offering help that is readily available when and where people need it,” said Brian Comer (pictured), minister responsible for the Office of Addictions and Mental Health. “Many of us will experience some depression or anxiety in our lives. Having resources at our fingertips to help us manage in the early stages will help promote mental wellness and keep people healthy. I’m happy to be able to bring this made-in-Nova-Scotia program to people across the province.”
Until December 6, Tranquility was only available by referral through primary care providers or the Mental Health and Addictions Intake Program. More than 150 Nova Scotians have benefited from the program since it was launched in March.
People can access the cognitive behavioural therapy program 24 hours a day, seven days a week at https://www.tranquility.app/novascotia. Participants keep a journal of their responses to situations and events and practise new skills through educational modules, interactive tools and one-on-one coaching over messaging, phone or video.
The program was co-created by a Nova Scotian, Joel Muise, who had experienced social anxiety and wanted to provide people with more options for care. It was developed at Volta Labs, a Halifax-based innovation hub, with input from clinical psychologists, including co-creator Alissa Pencer, and people who have experienced depression and anxiety. Tranquility is part of benefits carrier Green Shield’s health services.
Annual costs will be based on uptake and are anticipated to be between $340,000 and $510,000.
As someone who has struggled with mental health and with finding the right care to meet my needs, I am thrilled to see this program now being made available to everyone in need,” said Joel Muise, co-founder of Tranquility. “I started with the goal of leveraging technology to bring the same skills that helped me overcome my mental health challenges to more people. Six years later, it’s incredible to know we’ve built something that is helping so many people in my community dramatically change their lives – and that we can now help so many more.
The Tranquility program is available to all Nova Scotians 16 and older with mild to moderate anxiety or depression; people do not need to be referred. People participating in the program can book one 30-minute phone or webcam appointment with a coach each week.
For its part, the Nova Scotia government invested $6.4 million in e-mental health tools in fiscal 2022-23, including $757,000 in federal funding. Expanding e-mental health services is part of the Province’s Action for Health plan.