New Stepped Care Announcement in NL

The Honourable Tom Osbourne, Minister of Health and Community Services today announced the Strongest Families Institute (SFI) has expanded its stepped-care model of mental health programming in Newfoundland and Labrador. This means that more families will be able to access the level of mental health care that is right for them when they need it.

The universal stepped-care model was first introduced in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2020 as a pilot project of SFI’s parenting program – Parent Empowering Kids (PEK). Since then, 570 Newfoundland and Labrador families have benefited from the PEK program.

Now that same model has been integrated into Strongest Families Chase Worries Away (ages 6-12) and Defeat Anxiety (ages 13-17) programs, both of which teach unique skills and positive coping strategies for children and youth dealing with mild to moderate stress, anxiety and/or depression.

Through this population mental health approach there are levels of care available that correlate directly to a families’ need, while still providing maximum flexibility and easy access. Whether your child or youth is facing stress, anxiety, depression, or simply seeking to enhance their mental wellness, Strongest Families programs equip them with life-changing skills to thrive. By aligning the intensity of the program with individuals’ needs, an efficient system of care is created for families and the mental health system, ensuring effective support for all.

The Public Health Agency Canada is providing $1,845,000 from 2019 to 2026 through its Mental Health Promotion – Innovation Fund to enable SFI to expand the stepped-care approach to its child and youth evidence-based mental health programs.

The expanded Chase Worries Away (ages 6-12) and Defeat Anxiety (ages 13-17) programs are open to all Atlantic Canadians at no cost. To sign up for the free programs or to learn more, visit Strongest Families at www.strongestfamilies.com or call 1-866-470-7111 or Bridge the gapp at www.bridgethegapp.ca.

Ensuring that families get the mental health care they need, in their communities, is essential. Through this innovative stepped-care model, we’re proud to support positive mental health for children and youth in Newfoundland and Labrador. Together, we can empower the next generation to navigate life’s challenges with resilience.

The Honourable Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Our government is happy to make the expanded Strongest Families Institute programming available to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. These programs provide another way for children and their families to receive needed supports and care, while reducing referrals and wait times in the traditional system.

Honourable Tom Osborne, Minister of Health and Community Services

We are so grateful to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Public Health Agency of Canada for their commitment to improved mental health and wellbeing. The Stepped Care model means we can equip more families with valuable skills to promote, prevent, and improve mental health and well-being in the broader population. Most people report that Strongest Families skills have been life-changing. With these new enhancements, we can bring these life-changing skills to children, youth, and families when they need us. We are proud to partner with the government to bring these and our adult mental health (ICAN) program to residents at no cost. We welcome people to make Strongest Families skills part of their mental fitness routine.

Dr. Patricia Lingley-Pottie, President and CEO, Strongest Families Institute

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.

Here our client share here story about how Strongest Families changed her life and that of her family: https://youtu.be/kXe2GhQXPL4 


Learn more

Provincial Government Providing Funding to Support Mental Health Services

Strongest Families Institute

Media Contacts:

Tina Coffey

Health and Community Services




Anne Marie Shannon

Strongest Families Institute