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Read real stories about employee mental health and how using Starling Minds makes an impact.

86% of Teachers Improve Mental Health with a New Online CBT Program

Starling Minds Case Study — British Columbia Teachers’ Federation

  • About BCTF

    Established in 1917, the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) is the union that represents 41,000 public school teachers in the province of British Columbia, Canada. The BCTF is a leader in offering evidence-based solutions that assist teachers with their mental health and wellness. The organization offers a wide range of workshops, programs, and services for members to enhance the profession. A large part of BCTF’s role is to support teachers on short and long-term disability. This comes in the form of financial support, practical support, and emotional support. Support is also provided by trained case managers and rehabilitation consultants who help teachers with their disability claims and provide guidance on the many resources that are made available to them.

  • The Challenge
  • The Solution
  • The Impact

Stigma and Access

Over 20,000 B.C. teachers will struggle with their mental health before they reach age 40 and hundreds of teachers are unable to teach each year due to anxiety and depression. Mike Kimmis, a former teacher and Director of the Income Security Division at BCTF adds, “From our data, we know that nearly 50% of teachers on disability are unable to work every year due to mental health diagnosis.”

To address this, the BCTF sought out an innovative digital solution that would educate teachers about mental health and strengthen their mental resilience using evidence-based practices. Mike Kimmis and his team predicted that if teachers had a tool that would help them become more resilient to the growing stressors in the profession, they could help reduce the costs associated with absenteeism, presenteeism, and turnover.

Kimmis shares, “We knew if we could provide some form of intervention early on in teachers’ careers, we could prevent them from going on disability years later, or leaving the profession altogether.” Elaborating further Kimmis adds, “We also know that the majority of our workforce will soon be millennials, so we sought to find a digital solution that would resonate with them.”

Starling Minds for Teacher Mental Health

In 2013, Starling Minds became available to 41,000 BCTF teachers across Canada to help them build and strengthen their mental resilience in order to successfully manage growing stressors at work and at home.

Today, Starling Minds helps B.C. teachers:


  • Become educated about mental health and evidence-based solutions for improving their own.
  • Access CBT support when they need it most from the privacy of their own homes.
  • Understand that they are not alone in a safe and secure place to learn and share with others like them in an online community.
  • Track and reflect on their mental health via regular assessments and a mood tracker.
  • Set realistic goals for their professional and personal lives with a built-in goal setter.

Improved Mental Health

Built into Starling Minds is a reporting system. This allows Kimmis and his team to understand where teachers are at with their mental health. From their data they know that:

  • 86% of teachers improve their mental health scores in the categories of depression, anxiety, and worry.
  • 18% of teachers who start in unhealthy to borderline unhealthy categories become mentally well again.
  • 33% of teachers on disability moved up from the bottom or middle of the mental health continuum.
  • 47% of teachers on disability finish in healthy categories on the mental health continuum.


Kimmis shares, “as a former teacher myself, I know that the profession is not always easy and I think any teacher will attest to the toll it can take—with Starling, our teachers feel understood and supported.”

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