Ask The Expert - Web and Telephone Support

About Ask the Expert:

Ask the Expert (ATE) assists people living with schizophrenia and psychosis and their families across Ontario through telephone, online and in-person support. ATE is staffed by a team of trained mental health counselors who provide customized, supportive counseling, advice on the mental health system in Ontario and connects people to local resources and services available throughout the province. All questions and responses are private.

ATE offers information for people dealing with:
  • First episode or new diagnosis of schizophrenia/psychosis
  • Persistent, ongoing situations of schizophrenia and related mental illness
  • Justice and mental health
  • Housing
  • Employment/ODSP
  • Early intervention
  • Medications
  • Signs and symptoms of mental illness
  • Advocacy

How to Get in Touch:

  1. Complete the form below, including your city and postal code so that information about local resources can be shared with you.
  2. Allow 24 hours for a response. Questions made over the weekend or during holidays will be responded to on the next business day.
  3. To speak with a mental health counselor, please call 1-855-449-9949 (please specify whether or not you would like the counselor to leave a voicemail message) 


Office hours are Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST. If you are facing a medical emergency or are in crisis, please contact your local crisis mobile team or call 911. 


Please note that the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario’s (SSO) Ask the Expert program is not a crisis or distress support line. If you are in crisis or distress and require immediate response, contact 211 (in Ontario) to obtain the phone number for crisis support in your local area, or contact Crisis Services Canada toll-free at 1-833-456-4566. If you are in an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

Frequently Asked Questions about Schizophrenia and Psychosis 

The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario keeps all personal information disclosed by you in the strictest confidence. Your personal information will not be released to other agencies or individuals without your explicit consent. This expectation of privacy does not apply, however, if the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario reasonably believes that disclosure of your information is necessary to avoid or reduce a significant risk of bodily harm occurring to you or to others. The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario is obligated by law to report to the appropriate authorities (including the police) any indication that an individual may be at risk of harming him/herself or someone else, and to report if a child under the age of 18 is either suffering, or at risk of suffering, physical and/or emotional harm. 
Please note that a “child” is defined as an individual under the age of 18 in the Child and Family Services Act.

Ask the Expert

SSO will respond to your message during business hours (M-F, 9 am - 5 pm), within 3 business days.

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Strengthening Families Together 

About Strengthening Families Together:

Strengthening Families Together (SFT) is a four-week education and support group for family members and friends of people living with serious mental illness. Each 4-week session is $50.00/person.

Topics presented in group sessions include information about:
  • Schizophrenia and psychosis
  • Treatment options
  • Coping as a family
  • Mental health system and criminal justice system
  • Advocacy

How to get in touch: 

SFT is offered in various communities across Ontario.  Check our events calendar for upcoming SFT events near you. For university and college students SFT on Campus supports students who are family members and friends of individuals living with schizophrenia. Find out more here.

SSO provides an online version of SFT for people who cannot attend in person. Each session is interactive and lead by a mental health family worker. Check our events calendar for upcoming SFT events near you.

Justice and Mental Health (JAMH)

About JAMH:

For families needing support when a loved one living with mental illness comes into contact with the law, our helpline is available to help connect you with options.

Additionally, families looking for support around justice and mental health concerns can access an information guide here

How to get in touch:

Please contact us at 1-855 449-9949 or email at asktheexpert@schizophrenia.on.ca 

IDEAS - Family Support

About IDEAS Family Support

IDEAS Family Support Group is an evening of supportive conversation with presentations from guest speakers, held in a welcoming space. Topics focus on psychoeducation, system navigation, tools for supporting loved ones, and self-care.

How to get in touch

Visit our events calendar to find an IDEAS group in your community.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis Training

About Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Psychosis

SSO offers the only complete Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for psychosis (CBT-p) skills training for professionals and caregivers in Canada. Facilitated by world-leading psychiatrist Dr. Douglas Turkington of the Insight CBT Partnership (UK) and SSO, the program offers a one-day training for professionals, a two day introductory workshop or a five day advanced caregiver workshop.

What is CBT-p?

CBT-p is an evidence-based form of psychotherapy that is increasingly used as a therapy for serious mental illness, including schizophrenia and psychosis. CBT-p helps a person become more conscious of their beliefs and patterns of thinking. Health Quality Ontario standards for treatment of schizophrenia include CBT-p as an effective treatment in managing the symptoms of schizophrenia when used in conjunction with medication.

New research is demonstrating the benefits of learning and applying CBT-p informed caring techniques when caring for a relative with schizophrenia (Giga et al, 2017, in press). These benefits relate to caregivers improved sense of empowerment, knowledge and optimism after attending the workshops. The benefits can reduce the anxiety and depression which can be linked to caring. When these techniques are learned and used within an enhanced caring milieu, recovery in terms of social functioning can be facilitated in the person being cared for. 

Who does CBT-p help?

  • Caregivers of individuals living with schizophrenia or psychosis
  • Mental health professionals
  • Front-line mental health workers 

How does CBT-p help?

By learning practical tools and strategies, caregivers will gain a sense of empowerment, optimism and will be able to reduce the anxiety and feelings of depression that can be associated with caregiver roles. Additionally, caregivers will be able to practice what they have learned and apply them to their own personal care situations.The use of CBT-p techniques tends to improve joint working, facilitate recovery and reduce the risk of burnout in mental health staff. 

How to get in touch:

For more information about this program, please contact cbtp@schizophrenia.on.ca
We recently received a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation for a special project evaluating Congnitive Behavioural Therapy for psychosis as an intervention to the poverty cycle. Check back soon for more details on this work.