ICAN Program Available in Nova Scotia

Donation from J&W Murphy Foundation enables Strongest Families to offer its Adult Mental Health Program (ICAN) to Nova Scotians. 

March 23, 2023. Halifax NS – Thanks to a generous donation from the J&W Murphy Foundation, Strongest Families Institute (SFI) will once again offer its ICAN Anxiety and Depression program to Nova Scotian adults 18+.  

Strongest Families is an award-winning Nova Scotia-based charity that provides evidence-based, bilingual services shown to improve mental health and well-being for children, youth, adults, and families. 

Over the next two years, Nova Scotian adults 18+ who have mild or moderate anxiety and depression can access the ICAN program through a direct, self-referral process. The project goal is to provide a barrier-free service option to Nova Scotians 18+ with a particular focus on underserved populations such as members of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC), 2SLGBTQIA+, rural communities, those impaired by COVID-related anxieties or those facing barriers or stigmatization. 

“Our objective is to remove barriers so people can receive timely, high-quality services at no cost. The skill-based ICAN program has been shown to have life-changing impacts,” says Dr. Patricia Lingley-Pottie, SFI’s President and CEO. “Our team will be connecting with community leaders across the province to increase awareness of this opportunity.”   

SFI’s eight-week adult anxiety and depression program with weekly telephone coach support was launched in 2018 with funding from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. ICAN is currently available provincially/territorially in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Manitoba, Yukon, and throughout northern Saskatchewan. It is also available nationally to Veterans, military members, RCMP veterans, and their families. 

Trustee of the J&W Murphy Foundation, Lisa Murphy, says their family is passionate about helping people struggling with mental health issues, especially those who face barriers to getting the support they need.   

“We are familiar with the success Strongest Families has had over the last 10+ years,” says Ms. Murphy. “They did tremendous work during COVID-19, more than doubling the number of families they worked with in the past couple of years. They are a locally developed charity with important national reach, and we are confident in their ability to provide valuable mental health programming.” 

ICAN is part of Strongest Families’ suite of e-mental health and wellness programs. Trained telephone support coaches provide guidance through weekly telephone calls and offer support via online tools and resources. The program operates on a schedule that is convenient and at no cost to clients. 

SFI’s outcome results show the ICAN program skills have strong and lasting impacts on anxiety and depression as well as increased confidence, improved sleep patterns, decreased reliance on substances, improved relationships and the ability to do things people otherwise were not able to do before completing the ICAN program  (96% of clients have resolved or significantly improved symptoms and impairments and are highly satisfied with the service). SFI’s coaches help support people by equipping them with skills to learn to deal with major life stressors through effective problem-solving methods. 

To access the ICAN program, people can sign up via SFI’s website or by calling 1-866-470-7111.  

Watch Dr. Pottie as she discusses this project with Global News: HERE




Anne Marie Shannon,  

Director, Communications and Fundraising,  

Strongest Families Institute 

Direct : (902) 449-6560           

Email: amshannon@strongestfamilies.com 



About the ICAN program 

The ICAN adult anxiety program provides individuals with life-long skills to help overcome anxiety and depression and cope with daily life stressors. Results show that this program has significant impacts on anxiety and depression, as well as leading to improved daily functioning, improved interpersonal relations and quality of life for all ages. Skills are supported through online modules and demonstration media (videos/audio) and through weekly telehealth coaching, either one-on-one or in a group. For people without access to the internet or devices or who prefer to learn from hard-copy materials, SFI supplies them for free. 

The ICAN program is based on science, was co-designed by people with lived experience, and focuses on adults 18+ years of age. It is based on a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) approach, which involves restructuring thoughts and learning relaxation skills that are all used to help guide people through a gradual exposure process to overcome anxiety. Embedded behaviour activation strategies help depression symptoms. ICAN also includes skills focused on effective problem-solving around major stressors, being your own advocate and balancing a budget. It is also reported to help improve daily performance, social and family relationships and increase confidence and quality of life. 

The program is available free of charge to Nova Scotia residents 18+. Individuals can self-refer online at https://login.strongestfamilies.com/signup/ican/page/1/  or by calling 1-866-470-7111. 

 About Strongest Families Institute 

Strongest Families Institute (SFI) is an award-winning charitable organization founded in Nova Scotia that provides effective, evidence-based programs for people dealing with mild to moderate mental health and other issues impacting health and well-being. SFI provides timely, accessible care to children, youth, emerging adults, and families by teaching skills through a unique distance telephone coaching approach – support is provided for clients in the comfort and privacy of their own homes.  

In addition to the ICAN program, Nova Scotians also have access to other Strongest Families programs, including: 

Strongest Families currently provides mental health services across Canada in nine provinces and two territories and serves our Canadian military and Veterans as well as their families.  



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