Access to Mental Health Care

In an open letter published in Le Devoir on September 30, the Coalition of Public Sector Psychologists (CPRPQ) calls for greater access to psychologists' services in the public health and education systems. It is calling for unique, free services that are integrated in the community, services that have the potential to save a lot of suffering in Quebec, as well as money.

The organization has carried out several actions. These include 185 media appearances, several exchanges with the office of the Minister of Health and Social Services Lionel Carmant, drafting seven briefs, presenting an investment plan that would save Quebec more than $228 million annually, a rally of more than 300 people in downtown Montreal, and a petition signed by more than 7,000 Quebeckers.

Despite this, Minister Carmant "closed the door on the solution proposed by psychologists in the field, namely the formation of a union of psychologists to attract and retain psychologists in the public network," says the Coalition.

"Instead, the Minister seems to rely on self-care guides found on the Internet or on hiring other employees, some of whom have very limited training in mental health. These initiatives unfortunately do not address the full range of the population's needs, which are increasingly complex," it says.

Another problem the Coalition is addressing is that as of September 2023, unless the situation changes, many of the next generation of students will not be trained because of the burnout and overload of psychologists in the public system. Doctoral students in psychology must complete 2,300 hours of a mandatory internship in order to graduate. "Due to the continuing departures of our colleagues, there are not enough psychologists left to meet that need," the Coalition writes.

The signatories to the letter conclude: "We will fight to the end for this cause as it is much greater than us. We cannot leave the population without access to this vital service."

The Coalition is also circulating a petition, which can be found here.

This article was published in
Volume 52 Number 24 - October 3, 2022

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