Originally published in Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health, on September 26 2018.
We spoke with Colin Andersen, who is Executive Vice-President at BEACON.
BEACON was introduced in 2016 in CBT Associates clinics, a leading Canadian provider of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and other evidence-based therapies that help people improve their mental health and well-being. Available Canada-wide in English and French, BEACON is a digital platform that provides every individual with a personalized CBT experience integrating the one-on-one support of a registered mental health professional.
Assessment, diagnosis and treatment through computer or mobile device allows people to access customized treatment immediately, whenever and from wherever it works for them. Individuals get their own dedicated BEACON therapist who will create a care path personalized to them, and provides guidance throughout treatment. BEACON has worked with other mental health leaders like Ryerson University and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to develop treatment protocols. These protocols include treatment for depression, anxiety, panic and PTSD, with alcohol, cannabis and OCD coming soon.
BEACON has also actively sought student input through roundtable sessions in Hamilton and Waterloo, as well as through its national PSE Advisory Committee.
Colin says, “One in three Canadian post-secondary students experience issues with their mental health, and two-thirds of students aren’t getting the treatment they need due to affordability, wait lists and stigma associated with getting help. The idea here is to provide affordable, accessible mental health care and help students build resiliency and coping skills.”
Currently, BEACON is provided at Wilfred Laurier University and Mohawk College. According to Colin, “We can integrate into existing health and wellness centres on campus. A student can access the platform and get an assessment which gives them a feedback report which they can bring to the wellness centre.”
The wellness centre staff can then use the report to help them triage the student to receive the appropriate support. Alternatively, a student can use BEACON exclusively for support if they prefer digitally delivered therapy.