G1-a - Sustaining innovation in virtual mental health through integration and person-centered quality of care

1. Mental health and addiction support in primary care

  • Date: Friday, October 9, 2020
  • Concurrent Session G
  • Time: 12 :00 pm – 12 : 30 pm
  • Style: Rapid-fire presentation
  • Focus: Balance between both (e.g. Presentation of a best-practice guideline that combines research evidence, policy issues and practical steps for implementation)
  • Target Audience: Leadership, Clinical providers, Administrative staff
    , Representatives of stakeholder/partner organizations

Learning Objectives

This rapid fire presentation will discuss the integration of approaches in the Virtual Mental Health program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), collectively aimed at promoting access to high quality mental health and addictions care across all regions in Ontario:

  • Outreach 
  • TeleMental Health
  • ECHO Ontario Mental Health    

Participants will learn about each of these programs individually and how they work in concert to improve access to mental health care across Ontario.


Primary and community care providers (PCCP) working in underserved regions of Ontario often encounter barriers of limited resources and poor access to specialized mental health (MH).    

The Virtual Mental Health (VMH) program at CAMH, comprised of Outreach, TeleMental Health (TMH), and ECHO Ontario Mental Health (ECHO-ONMH), was established to provide underserved communities in Ontario with an innovative continuum of in-person and virtual services. Guided by principles of health equity and quality, these services focus on improving provincial accss to MH supports in collaboration with local PCCPs.     Through the Outreach program, psychiatrists travel to patients’ communities to provide on-site clinical care. This model evolved to include an integrated care model of TMH, which matches a dedicated psychiatrist to a primary care team to deliver collaborative mental health care (both direct and indirect care) at a distance. TMH rapidly expanded, using secure videoconference to deliver high-quality MH care across Ontario.      

ECHO-ONMH uses multipoint videoconferencing to establish virtual communities of practice in mental health, including high need specialty areas, such as First Nations, Inuit and Métis Wellness; Trans and Gender Diverse Healthcare; and Addictions. Through didactic lectures and case-based learning, PCCPs across Ontario share best practices in MH, which are collaboratively applied to clinical care recommendations.    

PCCPs and patients are supported with a variety of aligned MH services, supplementing existing strengths and resources. These programs seek to: 1) improve patient access and continuity of care; and 2) strengthen PCCP capacity to deliver high quality, evidence-based MH care locally. 


  • Jenny Hardy, OT Reg. (Ont.), Acting Director, Virtual Mental Health and Outreach, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health 
  • Denise Canso, MSc, PMP, Manager, TeleMental Health & Ontario Psychiatric Outreach Program, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health


  • Cheryl Pereira, MPH-Research Coordinator, Outreach and ECHO Ontario Mental Health, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Anne Kirvan, MSW,RSW- Clinical Services Consultant, TeleMental Health and ECHO
  • David Rodie, MD, FRCPC- Medical Head, Telepsychiatry, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health    
  • Eva Serhal, PhD, MBA- Senior Director, Virtual Mental Health and Outreach, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health     
  • David Mastey, PhD- Manager, NPOP-C and Special Outreach Projects, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health  
  • Sanjeev Sockalingam, MD, FRCPC, MPHE- VP, Education, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Allison Crawford, MD, FRCPC, PhD – Associate Chief, Virtual Mental Health and Outreach, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health