Halifax-based Tranquility Online, a web-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) program, has partnered with Maritime researchers and government to investigate how the pandemic is impacting the mental health of caregivers.

The research will look at the implementation and evaluation of e-mental health care for parents and caregivers struggling with anxiety and depression arising from the pandemic.

Joel Muise, Co-founder and CEO of Tranquility Online, which helps adults with mild-to-moderate anxiety and depression, said the research will allow independent research to be completed. 

He said this should “help generate evidence that Tranquility is effective at a large scale, working with a very important key audience – parents and caregivers.”

Parents, particularly women, are experiencing heightened anxiety and depression during the pandemic, the partners said in a statement.

It is unclear which specific stressors faced by parents are overwhelming their coping resources. What is clear is that treatment is needed and e-mental healthcare has become a necessity, the statement said.

The study of at least 200 caregivers will examine participants’ coaching preferences and the impact online coaching has on their mental health.

The partners have been awarded a major federal research grant from the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR).

The funding will help bring Tranquility’s platform to parents across the Maritimes. The project will include translating the entire program into French, which will also broaden use and grow the partner network. 

Primary investigators are Janine Olthuis, Assistant Professor, University of New Brunswick and Dr. Alissa Pencer, Senior Instructor, Dalhousie University and Co-founder & Senior Scientific Director of Tranquility Online.