Partnership expanded between 211 and Ontario Psychological Association to increase access to psychological services during COVID-19 for frontline workers


TORONTO, June 3, 2020 /CNW/ - Ontario 211 Services (211) and the Ontario Psychological Association (OPA) are pleased to expand their partnership to ensure more frontline workers are getting the mental health care they need. This partnership will enable frontline workers without extended health benefits to access psychological services at no cost throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic response.
This announcement expands OPA's current Disaster Response Network (DRN) program in Toronto with 211 Central to the rest of the province. The DRN program can provide up to 6 mental health treatment sessions with a psychologist at no cost for frontline workers in any industry, and their dependants, who may have developed mental health struggles and have no, or limited, extended health coverage.  Frontline persons requiring mental health coverage can be referred and guided to DRN services by calling 211. Community Navigators will confirm eligibility for the program and help register frontline workers through the OPA portal, where they will be matched with an appropriate resource.
"Ontario 211 is thrilled to expand this partnership that began in Toronto and be a starting point for frontline workers across the province looking for mental health resources and support," says Karen Milligan, Executive Director, Ontario 211. "Persons working in retail,  grocery stores or shelters for example may not have health benefits required to pay for the services being offered through the DRN program. Especially during these stressful times, it's reassuring to know our 211 navigators can now make these direct connections to services that care for our carers."
"The pandemic has made life difficult for so many people. More than ever, we need to support our frontline workers while they support the public - whether it's as a first responder, nurse, personal support worker or cashier; we have to ensure our services are available to them. We cannot understate the impact of this pandemic on mental health, and we need people to know where they can turn to for help," Dr. Diana Velikonja, OPA President.
"The DRN was created to provide a critical service during emergencies and works by removing all immediate barriers to receiving care for the most vulnerable. As psychologists, we're proud to be in the front lines of mental health care for those who provide essential services to all Ontarians. A partnership with 211 will ensure that more frontline workers and their families get to access the care they need no matter where they are in the province," Dr. Liliana Tarba, Clinical Psychologist and DRN Lead.
About 211 Ontario
211 Ontario (211) is the source Canadians trust when seeking information and services to deal with life's challenges. 211's award-winning telephone helpline (2-1-1) and website ( provide a gateway to community, social, non-clinical health and related government services. 211 helps to navigate the complex network of human services quickly and easily, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in over 150 languages. 211 service in Ontario is made possible through the support of local United Ways, municipalities and Ontario's Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.
About Ontario Psychological Association
The Ontario Psychological Association (OPA) is a professional organization representing psychology in Ontario. The OPA provides leadership to promote the mental health and wellbeing of Ontarians, and to inspire excellence in the profession of psychology through research, education, clinical excellence and advocacy. The OPA strives for a healthcare system in which psychological services are accessible to all Ontarians, where psychologists can practice to their full potential, and the value of the professional healthcare services psychologists provide is widely and properly recognized.
SOURCE Ontario 211 Services
For further information: Jennifer Stewart at or at 613.915.5699