Toronto Startup Solves Common Barriers to Mental Health Treatment

With the slow but undeniable shattering of the long-held mental illness stigma has come a society-wide call to action for treatment.

Thankfully, mental health initiatives and awareness have finally started to infiltrate everything from the workplace and education system to powerful social media campaigns. They even inspire new startups.

As a result, a growing number of young people are “coming out” with their mental health struggles.

The thing is, though, that awareness is only one part of it; logistics is quite another. While addressing a mental health issue is the first step in managing it, finding a suitable therapist isn’t exactly easy – or affordable. A typical visit to a therapist will set you back $180 or more.

If you’re going weekly (which some need to), that’s $720 per month – the amount some young professionals pay for rent. Even if you’re among the dwindling set with health insurance plans, just a few visits will use up your allocated funds.

One Toronto-based startup, TranQool, however, has a mission to simplify access to mental health treatment by connecting patients with licensed therapists through online video chats.


TranQool aims to break down financial barriers to mental health treatment by matching patients with therapists through laptops instead of at a doctor’s office (saving time and transportation costs in the process).

With TranQool, a session with a therapist is only $60 (and you can do it in your comfiest sweatpants).

The reason that the company is able to charge such a low fee is because therapists usually take the appointments after hours or on weekends. TranQool will take a cut from each session.

With TranQool, it really couldn’t be simpler to get help. Not to mention, if you’re getting treatment from home, nobody has to know (not that there’s any shame in it).

Users sign up for free online. After answering a series of questions, they are matched with a recommended therapist who will offer treatment in nine mental health categories. These include depression, eating disorders, and social anxiety, among others.

Currently, there are 60 Ontario therapists registered to offer their services through the TranQool system. All have gone through a criminal record check and are licensed with the College of Social Workers or the College of Psychologists. Both the affordability and quantity of therapists means you can even try a few out before you decide on one best suited for you.

This is one startup we’d hope sticks around.