We all know that there are more demands on our time and attention nowadays. There is a need to promote healthy behavior and healthy living on a regular basis in order to help lower stress levels and improve how we feel overall. Mental health is no different than physical health, so it should not be prioritized any differently than our physical health. “It’s ok to not be ok, but it’s important to talk about it.” We need to be having caring conversations and foster psychological safety so that people can feel safe and confident to ask for help and to recognize when those around them need help. Reducing the stigma, increasing access, and allowing people to connect better with their mental health needs are all very important aspects of mental health.
Togetherall is a digital mental health care platform that is working with several different companies to provide well-rounded care in a supportive, anonymous setting with licensed clinical professionals. PWC, ProtoCall, and an independent consultant all work with Togetherall to supply their care networks with the care they need.
The challenge is reaching people and helping them stay accountable for themselves. Helping them focus on their well-being and realize that not everything is ok while making sure they realize that their care needs have to be continuous. Getting people to understand the importance of continuous care is a real challenge.
Togetherall working with PWC is a valuable piece of the care puzzle. Working with people and allowing them to realize that they are not alone is crucial. Working together now, when everyone is working from home alone, is a significant change in helping people seek care. People are realizing that this form of care applies to them, and they are accessing it the way they need to access the proper care. They are providing a safe space in the way of anonymity while still providing a support community and being supported by licensed professionals. This is another way to complement the various forms of community that exist within PWC, with the added benefit of anonymity and access to clinicians.
One of the main challenges was to reach people and convince people that mental health care was applicable to all. Access to all was a benefit of working with Togetherall. The care doesn’t feel clinical–it feels personal. It allows you to come in and observe or come and be a part of the journey. Regardless of what community you come from and what your struggles are, there is no pressure when accessing this form of mental health care.
The first challenge is always accessing. 24/7 access is super important and was the first topic addressed. Students are arriving on campus with increasingly complex needs. Supporting access to the brick-and-mortar centers that already exist on campus is a necessity, but there was something missing; there needs to be more. There needed to be 24/7 crisis response available to the struggling students. A digital well-track app is now being used with over 500 colleges. This app is expanding access for students to be in contact with instant care access and connecting them with providers in terms that fit their needs. These connections help to prevent students from falling between the cracks. This continuum of care between smartphones, counselors, and providers, in one seamless journey for students, helps prevent them from falling behind.
There is a peer-to-peer aspect of the care network that has been utilized since 2015. Allowing the connection between the student and the providers and the use of peer support is an exceptional tool not only in the care itself but also in reducing the stigma associated with seeking mental health care.
Working with Togetherall has increased this access to care and this bond between the students and assessing their care needs and seeking help within a digital platform. The digital peer community had to have enough depth to be credible and sustain the needs of the students. The combination of these two allowed schools to evaluate how they provide support to their students.
ProtoCall’s goal is access for all who require access to the right care at the right time.
The overall goal is how to deliver high-quality care at a reasonable cost. There is huge complexity in the ranges of care that are required. There is a high need for interdependence for families with each level of care. There are also barriers that can be caused by politics that can prevent people from accessing care and the care supporting them in the way it needs to.
There have been other barriers and blockers that have come into play regarding access to mental health care. Using digital tech for care was not accessible until recently. High-quality care in a sustainable model was fairly unattainable, with all of the blockers and barriers in the field. Togetherall has really helped to connect the dots in the care system and allow for the high-quality care needed for those who are really struggling.
Peer-supported care is also starting to become a major role in care in Canada. This benefit has a lot of positive outcomes. The benefit that Togetherall provided was by improving your own mental health outcome while being supported by a community of supportive peers and providers. There is this freedom as part of recovery with Togetherall, with the anonymity and the access to providers, with your own working recovery and care plan.