Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces $240.5 million in funding for virtual mental-health supports and services

It comes as more Canadians rely on telehealth as an alternative to visiting doctors' offices

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      The Canadian government has jumped onto the telehealth bandwagon.

      This morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that $240.5 million will be made available for virtual mental-health service and tools.

      It will support Wellness Together Canada, which is an online portal launched in April. It provides modules for those dealing with substance use, social isolation, relationship issues, and low moods.

      "We're expanding existing online tools, creating new virtual platforms for mental health and for primary care," Trudeau said.

      Some of the funding will be allocated toward digital products, such as the COVID-19 app, which provides updates to people while helping them track their symptoms.

      "If we can use apps to order dinner and video chats to stay in touch with family, we can use new technology to keep each other healthy," Trudeau said.

      Last week, the Straight reported that telehealth can reduce hospital readmissions by 15 percent and cut mortality rates by up to 35 percent.

      Telehealth is covered by provincial health plans in B.C., Ontario, and Alberta, which means residents there can consult with physicians over the phone or through video at no charge.

      “Telehealth is more important now than ever with doctors closing their clinics all over Canada,” David Del Balso, Tia Health’s CEO, said in an interview last week. “Provinces across the country have been slowly rolling out virtual care—COVID has accelerated this—and many plan to continue offering coverage after the pandemic ends.”