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Given the challenges faced by health providers in meeting the needs of patients and the likelihood that Canada will not have the means to increase its human resource capacity to address unmet mental health needs in the near term, evidence-informed alternatives must be acted upon today. In Australia, it has been estimated that a cumulative $9 billion (in today’s dollars) would have to be added to Australia’s health spend over 15 years (assuming service stays exactly as it is today) to meet the projected cumulative increase in the use of mental health services over the same period. This has been described as unrealistic and has prompted a reflection on how that country can more appropriately meet the unmet mental health needs of its citizens.

Investments in a range of upstream, behavioral and psychological interventions focused on prevention and health promotion for mild to moderate symptoms, which use information and communication technology (ICT), have great potential to improve value for money in our health system over the long run given projected population needii, the growing burden of poor mental health, and given our current underutilization of available mental health human resources in Canada.

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