The Government of New Brunswick has embarked on a transformative journey to enhance its mental health services through the implementation of Stepped Care 2.0 (SC2.0 ©).

Recognizing the pressing need for more accessible and timely mental health services, New Brunswick’s decision to embrace and implement the SC2.0 model is rooted in the desire to integrate mental health, substance use health, and addiction services within the broader healthcare system. Through SC2.0, New Brunswick seeks to overcome navigation challenges and ensure that all individuals can access effective, culturally relevant mental health resources and support when they need it.

Care-First Approach

Part of New Brunswick’s SC2.0 model implementation focuses on simplifying procedures to provide faster and better services. In an episode of the “So, why?” Podcast, Bernie Goguen of the province’s Department of Health shared that one notable change involved shifting from the previous practice of requiring upfront assessments to adopting a care-first approach that puts people’s needs first and recognizes their strengths and capacities. By adapting and learning as they go, New Brunswick aims to collect the least amount of information needed to provide support while ensuring individuals can access care without unnecessary delays. This streamlined process reduces bottlenecks and ensures more efficient delivery of mental health, substance use health, and addiction services.

Early adopters and champions in Campbellton, New Brunswick initiated the first step with drop-in counselling and witnessed early results with reduced waitlists and positive staff engagement. Through collaboration with health authorities, the coordination of training, and the unwavering commitment of change advocates, New Brunswick is overcoming challenges and steering the success of open-access, care-first services.

Reduced Waitlists

The change in New Brunswick has yielded significant positive impacts in service delivery. Within the first six months, there was a 62% reduction in provincial waitlists for mental health and addiction services.1 Those who participated in One-at-a-Time (OAAT) sessions expressed high satisfaction with the care they received. Clinicians reported renewed hope, and both clients and providers highlighted the positive impact of SC2.0 on their respective mental wellness journeys.

New Brunswick remains steadfast in its commitment to SC2.0 implementation. Their next steps include training more providers in OAAT Counselling, establishing a steering committee consisting of diverse perspectives across the system, and working through a co-design and engagement process to develop their own model.

By analyzing and building on existing services and incorporating the concepts of population health and the social determinants of health, New Brunswick is poised to expand and improve the full continuum of mental health and wellness services for its residents.

Stepped Care Solutions has embarked on a special series to explore different perspectives on One-at-a-Time thinking. Through blog posts, podcast episodes, webinars and conversations, we will learn from various individuals about how OAAT thinking can be applied in different contexts. We hope you join our conversation and share your thoughts. 

More in our OAAT Series: 

  1.  Harris-Lane, L., King, A., Churchill, A., Burke, K., Cornish, P., Jaouich, A., Lang, R., Goguen, B., MacPherson, B., Rash, J.A. (2022, June 17-19). Implementing Stepped Care 2.0 in New Brunswick: Preliminary results of a provincial change initiative [Poster presentation]. Canadian Psychological Association Conference. Calgary, AB. ↩︎