Psychology for all?

Posted: May 27, 2015 in May 2015

In yesterday's issue of The Globe and Mail, Andre Picard discussed the mixed health care funding method used in Canada:

"As a result, most Canadians who need psychological care require private insurance or pay out of pocket, and much mental-health care is left to general practitioners who, because of the fee-for-service payment system, have an incentive to prescribe pills rather than do psychotherapy. While psychotherapy doesn’t have the greatest public image – many people envisage endless Woody Allenesque sessions on a couch where nothing is ever resolved – it is actually just as effective as medication in most cases, particularly for common conditions such as depression and anxiety. The evidence is strong."


According to the Canadian Psychological Association, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental disorder in a given year.  If we continue at our current trajectory, the World Health Organization projects that by 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability for all ages and both sexes (second to heart disease). The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) estimates that Canada loses 30 billion dollars annually in direct and lost productivity associated with mental health problems and addiction. Indeed, countries that offer their residents psychology services (like the UK and Australia) have demonstrated that these programs not only save the government billions of dollars, but also serve to make the populace more effective and healthy.


Recently, Dr. Sylvain Roy,C.Psych. outlined a vision for Psychology Aid Ontario. This new mental health initiative will be supported by donations from businesses, members of the public, and Psychologists who offer their services at a reduced fee. Going forward, municipalities, provincial, and federal government will be invited to invest as well. Join me in watching how this unfolds to make Psychology services available to those in need.