A digital cognitive behavioural therapy program to support the mental health of Manitobans and help address anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is now up and running, Premier Brian Pallister announced on Thursday, April 16.
“We recognize many Manitobans are living with anxiety and stress posed by this pandemic,” said Pallister. “Our government is committed to helping Manitobans… you are not alone; we will get through this together.”
The AbilitiCBT program is a free and confidential virtual-therapy platform and has proven to be one of the most effective and efficient therapy methods available, the premier added.
As of April 16, close to 600 individuals have registered for the program, and are now using the virtual-therapy platform, with more signing up.
Guided by professional therapists, the program addresses mild to moderate anxiety symptoms related to the uniquely challenging aspects of pandemics:
• physical isolation,
• caring for family and community members,
• information overload, and
• stress management.
The program will help people:
• learn what anxiety is and how it affects their emotions, mind, body and behaviour;
• reduce anxiety by learning cognitive behavioral-therapy skills and using them to change responses to triggers; and
• develop coping strategies to track and reduce anxiety and better manage daily activities.
The premier noted people do not need to be referred to the program by a doctor, they can start at any time by completing the online assessment on the website.
Once people register online, they are asked to download an app, as well as to complete and submit a health-screening questionnaire. A therapist will reach out within three days to book an initial assessment by phone.
People will then complete 10 modules on the app at their own pace, while the therapist tracks and monitors progress. There will be scheduled check-ins along the way by phone, chat or through a video check-in to make sure people are getting the help they need.
The internet-based cognitive behavioural-therapy service is free of charge to all Manitobans 16 years old and over. Services are available in English and French. The program can be accessed at www.manitoba.ca/covid19.
Crisis mental-health services continue to be available through partner organizations in Manitoba at www.gov.mb.ca/health/mh/crisis.html.
A comprehensive list of Manitoba government COVID-19 measures can be found at: