Standards for Canadian organizations

2020 Edition

Mental Health and/or Substance Use Services (CA-MHSU) 6: Therapeutic Services

Persons served receive ongoing, coordinated, trauma-informed therapeutic services based on their assessed needs and goals.
NA The organization provides Diagnosis, Assessment, and Referral Services only.
2020 Edition




Individuals and families who receive Mental Health and/or Substance Use Services improve social, emotional, psychological, cognitive, and family functioning to attain recovery and wellness.
Note: For detoxification treatment programs, please refer to the interpretation at CA-MHSU 5.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Referral procedures
  • Copies of agreements with cooperating service providers and/or community resource and referral list, as applicable
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Persons served
  • Review case records

CA-MHSU 6.01

Persons served receive psychosocial, therapeutic and educational interventions that are:
  1. matched with the assessed needs, age, developmental level, and personal goals of the service recipient; and
  2. provided in individual, family, and/or group format.


For detoxification treatment programs, therapeutic and educational interventions may be limited given the length of treatment and the service recipient's treatment progress.

CA-MHSU 6.02

The organization directly provides or makes referrals for a comprehensive range of prevention and treatment services, including:
  1. psychotherapy; 
  2. illness management and psychoeducation interventions;
  3. coping skills training;
  4. relapse prevention; 
  5. acute care; 
  6. support groups and self-help referrals;
  7. detoxification;
  8. inpatient care; 
  9. intensive outpatient care; 
  10. medical care; 
  11. psychiatric rehabilitation; and 
  12. targeted case management services.

CA-MHSU 6.03

Individuals and their families, when appropriate, are connected with peer support services, either directly or by referral, appropriate to their request or need for service.
Note: Peer support refers to services provided by individuals who have shared, lived experience. Services promote resiliency and recovery and can include peer recovery groups, peer-to-peer counselling, peer mentoring or coaching, family and youth peer support or other consumer-run services.