Online therapy groups bring accessible mental health services to youth in Toronto

Planned Parenthood Toronto launches Canada's first online therapy groups for youth

TORONTO, Feb. 20, 2013 /CNW/ - Planned Parenthood Toronto launches new online therapy groups that let youth connect with a trained therapist, as well as other youth struggling with the same issues, in a free and confidential online environment.

A first in Canada, these online therapy groups are a new way of delivering service, reaching youth who might not otherwise be able to access mental health services due to barriers such as transportation, time, and parental limitations. The three initial online therapy groups being offered by Planned Parenthood Toronto focus on managing anxiety, coping with depression, and building self-empowerment and healthy relationships.

Mental health is an important component of health for youth. According to The Chief Public Health Officer's Report on the State of Public Health in Canada, 2011: Youth and Young Adults - Life in Transition, most mental illnesses begin in adolescence or early adulthood and can then influence a person's health and well-being throughout the rest of their lives. Early intervention is critical, yet there are not enough free mental health services available to meet the needs of youth in Toronto. The launch of these online therapy groups is one of the ways Planned Parenthood Toronto is innovating to meet the needs of youth.

"Online therapy groups for youth are a unique way to meet a pressing need using technology that's increasingly integrated into people's lives, particularly the lives of youth," said Sarah Hobbs-Blyth, Executive Director, "We saw this as a way to increase access to mental health services and to help meet the needs of youth who might never be able to walk through our doors. It's important to us at Planned Parenthood Toronto to be on the cutting edge of using new technology to offer innovative programming and services."

Part of Planned Parenthood Toronto's Health Services, the new online therapy groups are just one way that youth in Toronto can access health care and information that will make a positive difference in their lives. Planned Parenthood Toronto also offers primary care, sexual health and mental health services at 36B Prince Arthur Avenue, as well as a sexual health website and peer education service for teens through www.teenhealthsource.com.

Planned Parenthood Toronto is a community-based, pro-choice agency that provides programs and services promoting healthy sexuality, reproductive health, and informed decision-making to youth (aged 13-29) and women in the City of Toronto.

Registration for the online therapy groups is still open and youth aged 18-29 can register by contacting Roberta at rtimothy@ppt.on.ca or 416-961-0113 ext. 184.

SOURCE: Planned Parenthood Toronto

For further information:

For more information about Planned Parenthood Toronto or to set up an interview with Sarah Hobbs-Blyth, Executive Director, please contact Dianna Amaral at: 416.961.0113 ext. 124 or damaral@ppt.on.ca