OHS Canada Magazine

Nova Scotia offers free online mental health tool, no medical referral needed

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December 7, 2022
By OHS Canada

Human Resources CBT Mental Health nova scotia Online Therapy Tranquility

Photo: Laurence Dutton/Getty Images

Nova Scotia is making an online mental health tool available to all residents to help them cope with mild to moderate depression and anxiety.

The province has expanded an agreement with Tranquility, a program that helps people better understand their emotions, thoughts and behaviours and build skills and coping strategies, it said. People using the program are supported by a coach who checks in on their progress and offers ongoing help and motivation.

“Providing better mental healthcare means offering help that is readily available when and where people need it,” said Brian Comer, Minister responsible for the Office of Addictions and Mental Health. “Many of us will experience some depression or anxiety in our lives. Having resources at our fingertips to help us manage in the early stages will help promote mental wellness and keep people healthy. I’m happy to be able to bring this made-in-Nova-Scotia program to people across the province.”

Program previously available only by referral

Until this week, Tranquility hds only been available by referral through primary care providers or the Mental Health and Addictions Intake Program. More than 150 Nova Scotians have benefited from the program since it was launched in March, the province said.

Participants keep a journal of their responses to situations and events and practise new skills through educational modules, interactive tools and one-on-one coaching over messaging, phone or video.


The program was co-created by a Nova Scotian, Joel Muise, who had experienced social anxiety and wanted to provide people with more options for care. It was developed at Volta Labs, a Halifax-based innovation hub, with input from clinical psychologists, including co-creator Alissa Pencer, and people who have experienced depression and anxiety. Tranquility is part of benefits carrier Green Shield’s health services.

The annual cost to the province will be based on uptake, and is expected to be between $340,000 and $510,000.

“As someone who has struggled with mental health and with finding the right care to meet my needs, I am thrilled to see this program now being made available to everyone in need,” said Muise. “I started with the goal of leveraging technology to bring the same skills that helped me overcome my mental health challenges to more people. Six years later, it’s incredible to know we’ve built something that is helping so many people in my community dramatically change their lives – and that we can now help so many more.”

Accessing the program

People can access the cognitive behavioural therapy program 24 hours a day, seven days a week at https://www.tranquility.app/novascotia.

It is available to all Nova Scotians 16 and older — referrals from a medical professional are no longer needed. People participating in the program can book one 30-minute phone or webcam appointment with a coach each week.


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