Keep it brief: Pandemic inspires promising new delivery model for personal therapy

Social Innovation

UCalgary doctoral candidate brings a social lens to alleviating strain in mental health industry

We all remember March 2020 — the COVID-19 pandemic took over the world, countries locked down, and feelings of stress and isolation were rampant. Many businesses and industries pivoted to the online world, and with the demand in mental health services increasing at a rapid rate, the mental health industry experienced an unprecedented wave of people requiring support.

“When COVID first hit, a lot of people were struggling, but didn’t have access to quality mental health services because it took awhile for the vast majority of therapists and counsellors to adapt to the online world,” explains Julia Imanoff, a UCalgary Faculty of Nursing doctoral candidate.

“To support people during this challenging time, my colleagues and I from the Canadian Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (CAMFT) decided to start a matchmaking therapy service where couples were matched with a therapist for three free telehealth sessions with additional sessions continuing on a sliding scale. We called this initiative the Emergency Response Team.”

Little did they know, their approach would set the stage for bigger things to come.

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