Canada invests in online mental health care amid coronavirus crisis

In a photo taken on April 1, 2020, a woman looks at her phone as she waits for the subway in Toronto.
In a photo taken on April 1, 2020, a woman looks at her phone as she waits for the subway in Toronto.PHOTO: AFP

OTTAWA (AFP) - Canada will invest C$240 million (S$241 million) to develop virtual care and mental health tools for residents to better cope with the consequences of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Sunday (May 3).

The funds will be used mainly to create new digital platforms and applications to give Canadians "strategies to manage stress or support from a procurement professional," Mr Trudeau said.

It will also aim to strengthen online virtual care to help stop the spread of the virus, which has officially infected nearly 60,000 people and resulted in more than 3,750 deaths in Canada.

"By helping doctors run appointments online, you can stay safe at home while getting care, and our hospitals can stay focused on those who need it most," said Mr Trudeau, speaking during his daily press briefing.

"If we can use apps to order dinner and videochats to stay in touch with family, we can use new technology to keep each other healthy," he said.

Several Canadian provinces, including the two most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic - Ontario and Quebec - have announced a progressive return to work and the reopening of schools in the coming weeks. Health authorities say they are reasonably optimistic about controlling the outbreak.