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More than 20% of all primary care provider visits in Ontario are related to mental health concerns. Although primary care providers feel equipped to manage straightforward clinical presentations of mental illness, they often feel less equipped to manage complex or severe cases.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has partnered with the University of Toronto (U of T) to develop ECHO Ontario Mental Health at CAMH and U of T (ECHO Ontario Mental Health). ECHO Ontario Mental Health aims to help primary care providers build capacity in the treatment of mental health and addictions. The model works to empower primary care providers to use evidence-based best practices to reduce the need for specialist visits, improving the quality of care for patients seeking treatment for mental health and addictions in primary care.

ECHO is a ‘Hub' and ‘Spoke' model of knowledge dissemination and capacity building, which aims to exchange knowledge between academic health science centers and the frontline of community care. It relies on the flow of knowledge in multiple directions: from specialists to primary care providers; between primary care providers; and from primary care providers to specialists. This model is appropriate for both physicians and allied healthcare providers, and has been successfully replicated throughout the US, and globally.

This project is fully funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and does not require any payment from primary care provider sites. The project is fully accredited for Continuing Medical Education (CME), so participants receive CME credits at no cost.