Prioritizing mental health can be done in your pajamas

Posted on March 24th, 2017

University of Ottawa alumna joins tech-based mental health counselling startup, seeks to improve accessibility

Walking into an office for your first, long-awaited mental health counselling appointment can be scary. After University of Ottawa alumna Madeline Smolarz experienced this firsthand while accessing on-campus counselling, she joined Inkblot Therapy in order to improve accessibility of mental health services.

Inkblot Therapy is a new Internet-based counselling service which, according to Smolarz, provides all the same benefits of a counselling office in addition to features like 24-hour appointment scheduling and low commitment required from the patient.

“(It’s) the comfort of being able to jump on, book an appointment, (and) have that appointment a day later without having to leave home if that’s not accessible to you.”

Although Smolarz, who is now the operations manager and digital curator at Inkblot, said that the counselling she received from the University of Ottawa Health Services (UOHS) had a “really positive impact” on her life, she noticed some gaps in the service that needed to be addressed.

“I was able to meet with someone within a couple of weeks, however … the semester ends at the end of April, so that’s essentially when I was told the counselling would be finished, regardless of whether I might need more or not,” she said.

“At that time I was living quite far from my family, didn’t feel comfortable seeking out a professional counsellor and going to their office. I felt much more comfortable on campus.”

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