COVID-19 Response: Shifting from walk-in to talk-in therapy

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The Challenge

Thunder Bay saw immediate changes in mental health and addiction needs due to COVID-19. There was an increased urgency for quick-access options for children, youth and adults across the lifespan and life situations. As provincial guidelines asked for physical distancing and staying at home as much as possible, our walk-In only model no longer fit. Support was needed from a variety of access points.

The Solution

  • Leveraged existing service, partnership, and resources to shift Walk-In to Talk-In Counselling, using a blended model to best meet community needs.
  • Expanded services to 5 days a week with morning, afternoon and evening options to increase accessibility.
  • Remain accessible to a variety of needs including English and French services and support for hearing impaired.
  • Available by phone, video call, online or face-to-face with appropriate screening measures.
  • Maintain quality of single session therapy, not drifting to intake services.
  • Services were launched with great response from local school boards, organizations, members of parliament, and community members.
  • All it takes to access support is a simple phone call.

The Process

  • Leverage existing resources  
  • Redeploy staff 
  • Expand quick access options
  • Centralize access,  with one phone number
  • Promote service to the community
  • Offer support to meet emerging community needs


For more information on the Shifting from walk-in to talk-in therapy, contact:

Thunder Bay CounsellingUnited Way Thunder BayChildren’s Centre Thunder Bay

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