Alberta Health Services has launched a virtual mental health network that will offer anonymous, peer-to-peer mental health services around the clock.

The province announced the new network, a partnership with Togetherall, on Thursday, for every Albertan over 16, as a way for people to connet and support others in a safe online community.

Members will be able to interact with a virtual peer community, or else form their own smaller groups. They’ll also have access to a variety of resources, including assessments, courses, self-help journaling and goal-setting tools. There will also be group courses offered in conjunction with others interested in the same areas, such as depression and anxiety.

Moderators, usually clinical counsellors and social workers, will monitor the platform to help create a safe space. They will also be available to direct users to a number of free resources provided by Alberta Health, including Health Link 811, the Mental Health Help Line, and the Addiction Health Line.

PANDEMIC HIGHLIGHTS STRUGGLES

It all arrives at a time when reports of mental health struggles are increasing, as the pandemic stretches into its eighth month.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how important mental health is to our overall well-being,” said Jason Luan, Alberta’s Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.”October 10 is World Mental Health Day, and as we collectively adjust to a new normal, we need to continue to prioritize taking care of ourselves and those we love.”

Dr. Nicholas Mitchell, AHS’s senior medical director for Provincial Addiction and Mental Health added that, “This network will connect Albertans with others during a time when we are physically disconnected. It is so important to maintain our social connections and this platform will provide a wy for Albertans to connect with others from all walks of life. We know COVID-19 is impacting individuals’ mental health but we know, together, we will get through this.”

Albertans can sign up for Togetherall at www.ahs.ca/virtualmentalhealth. During registration, you will be asked for a postal code, email address, date of birth and country of residence, as well as an anonymous username for the platform.



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