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This Company Offers Free Mental Health Services For Ontario Students & Here's How It Works

Free therapy is a click away!

Rhythm SachdevaMar 27, 2023, 7:00 PM

This story was fact-checked i

Mental health services in Ontario, especially public ones, can be hard to access for anyone due to a backlog caused by COVID-19, which the province is still trying to recover from.

But many Ontario's students enrolled in universities and colleges can now access a free therapy and mental health service, along with a whole host of other mental health resources.

Get-A-Head, which was first launched in 2019, is an online platform that connects students in Ontario to future mental health professionals and trainees who go on to offer free online therapy services to them.

"So we're matching the students in need with a scalable workforce, right?" Ahad Bandealy, Get A-Head's founder told Narcity.

"The sooner [the trainees] get the hours with them, the quicker they're able to actually get out into the field and practice. And so that's kind of the ecosystem we've created."

Bandealy, who has a background in healthcare technology, says that Get-A-Head works in partnership with several universities and colleges and aims to become a complimentary resource for students that are looking for support.

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Most of the practitioners and trainees on Get-A-Head's platform come from universities, as do the students.

"We've done 41,907 sessions in the province of Ontario from September until now," he said.

The platform is open to all students enrolled in an Ontario college or university with a valid school email, including international and part-time students, and offers a fully-virtual service that "supports video calls, voice calls and messaging."

Get-A-Head uses an algorithm that matches students to counsellors-in-training across Ontario, which takes into consideration a student's preference for gender, age, ethnicity and language.

"We want to make sure that we're servicing not just what we have come to know as a student in need with a specific background; we want to help all students," Bandealy said.

The platform also says that students will have access to all of their therapist's notes and are allowed unlimited sessions.

Get-A-Head initially started as a pilot program with The University of Waterloo, Humber College and Six Nations Polytechnic, with a partnership with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities.

It has since expanded with funding from the Ministry, the Ontario Psychological Association and other organizational partners.

"Once the user and practitioner are matched, they are then able to schedule a virtual session at a mutually convenient time," the company told Narcity in an email.

"Most often, this will be anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks following the match."

Get-A-Head aims to expand to other provinces in Canada in the coming years.

7 pm

14 Nov 2023

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