CBT Skills Provincial Spread Project

Mental health conditions are the leading cause of disability in Canada, yet also among the most underfunded health care services. A survey showed family physicians provide approximately 80 per cent of Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU) care.

In 2015, a small group of physicians in Victoria came together to develop a group program to offer equitable, accessible, and timely evidence-based mental health treatments for early intervention on a large scale. The original curriculum drew on concepts of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), weaving in aspects of mindfulness, emotion regulation and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

The group created a sustainable delivery model with physician facilitators and accommodated training of new family physicians through co-facilitation in ongoing patient groups. As the program shifted virtually through the pandemic and as communities around BC became interested in launching similar initiatives, Shared Care selected the program for provincial spread. 

Recognizing the impact of the pandemic on both patients and physicians, the Shared Care Committee funded both Mind Space (then known as the CBT Skills Groups Society) and UBC Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD), and the Doctors of BC Physician Health Program (PHP) to spread the virtual groups to both patients and physicians across BC. Funding has been provided by Shared Care for the next three years.

Read the BCMJ article on the CBT Skills Spread Initiative: Building a program to support doctor and patient mental health.

Overarching Project Objectives

  • ⇒To support the mental wellness of practicing physicians across BC
  • ­⇒To train 100 physicians as CBT Skills Foundations facilitators, offering both in-person and virtual groups throughout all regions the province
  • ⇒To revise course material using an equity, diversity, inclusivity (EDI) lens
  • ⇒­To increase provincial patient referrals from family physicians to the virtual groups
  • ⇒To increase linkages and clinical care pathways within PCNs and health authorities
  • ⇒­­To link patient data with provincial data to show cost-effectiveness and impact on the system
  • ⇒To sustain CBT Skills physician wellness groups as an on-going source of skills training and collegial support for BC physicians
  • ⇒To sustain Mind Space as a permanent provincial mental health service provider for patients, including physician patients

    Provincial Physician Training

    One primary aim of the spread project is to train physicians across the province who would like to:

    (1) Learn these skills for their own person wellness and to support patients within their 1:1 clinical practice

    (2) Participate in advanced training in CBT Skills to become a local facilitator and join their colleagues across the province to provide this service.

    The CBT Skills Groups Society and the University of British Columbia’s Continuing Professional Development (UBC-CPD) program have partnered to provide this training with UBC-CPD administering the Physician Wellness Groups and the CBT Skills Groups Society providing advanced facilitator training. This project is set to end by March 31, 2025. 

    Are you interested to participate in a Physician Wellness Group?

    All BC physicians are welcome to register for a UBC-CPD Physician Wellness Group. For family physicians who are interested in advanced facilitator training, you will be prompted to apply once you have completed a Physician Wellness Group

    Are you interested to become a facilitator?

    At this time we are only recruiting family physicians who reside and are members of the following Divisions:
    • Richmond
    • Northshore
    • Qathet
    • Abbotsford
    • Chilliwack
    • Mission
    • Burnaby
    • Fraser Northwest
    • Langley
    • White Rock-South Surrey & Surrey North Delta & Delta
    • Ridge Meadows
    • East Kootenay
    • Central Okanagan
    • South Okanagan Similkameen
    • Shuswap North Okanagan
    • Central Interior Rural
    • Thompson Region
    • Northern Interior Rural
    • Prince George
    • North Peace

    If you are having difficulty registering for a Physician Wellness Group and your Division is listed above, please contact us at facilitators@cbtskills.ca

    What makes spread possible?

    Builds into what already exsists

    Evaluation and quality improvement

    Sustainability as a longitudinal process


    Committed project champions

    Diverse funding

    Where CBT Skills Groups Fit In Our System

    Provincial Quarterly Reports

    Reichert & Associates, in partnership with Mind Space and UBC-CPD, produces quarterly reports that outlines the project outcomes. If you have any questions about the evaluation of this initiative or these reports, please contact Lisa Demers

    If you are a physician who is interested to learn more about how to refer or how to become a facilitator find out more HERE. If you are a mental health clinician/allied health provider and you are interested to learn more about our groups and the content covered, please preview the CBT Skills Foundations Workbook. If you are administrative support for a mental health program within a Health Authority or Primary Care Network and you would like to create pathways for integrating patient care, please contact Christine Tomori .

    Learn More