“I would like to have access to psychoanalysis, but I can't afford it”

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“”I would like to have access to psychoanalysis, but I can’t afford”

On this World Mental Health Day, psychologists, community organizations and their users are mobilizing to demand more resources from the Government of Quebec, but above all a different political approach .

Nearly 20% of the population of Quebec, or one in five people, will suffer from a mental disorder during their lifetime, says the Quebec government.

Réuni au carré Saint-Louis, in Montreal, the Regrouping of alternative resources in mental health of Quebec (RRASMQ) challenged the new Legault government by giving the floor to stakeholders struggling with mental health problems who are struggling to get help.

In our system, it's not for everyone, testified Peter Belland. There are disparities, ways of doing things that make it not accessible to everyone. I would like to have access to a psychoanalysis, but it's not possible, I can't afford it.

Mr. Belland is however aware of the resources available in Quebec; Indeed, he is a member of the organization Le Phare source d'entraide and is an activist in the Collective for a Quebec without poverty.

Monday morning, Thanksgiving Day, Peter Belland braved the autumnal cold to publicly discuss the various suicides that occurred in his entourage, because the victims were unable to overcome their psychological suffering.

In front of the dozens of participants gathered in the Saint-Louis square, he told how social and economic precariousness aggravates the situation in Quebec.

To prioritize mental health, we need more than access to services, we need to improve living conditions, summarized Anne-Marie Boucher, co-coordinator of the Regroupement des ressources alternatives en santéALE du Québec.

She also called on the government to better support community groups that have a so-called alternative approach and welcome participants without diagnosis, without labels.

“The previous government – ​​which is still our government – ​​made it a certain priority, but what we want is to invite this government to do more and do it differently. »

— Anne-Marie Boucher, co-coordinator of the Regroupement des ressources alternatives en santéALE du Québec

Carole Lévis, president of the board of directors of the RRASMQ, herself has very bad memories of her stay in a hospital. “It was hell,” she said. I swore to myself that if I'm not well, for sure I'm not going back. »

After suffering from deep sadness for several years with no sign of improvement, she finally decided to take her psychiatrist's advice and go to the hospital.

I stayed there for a month, and we weren't listened to there, you have to be careful what you say because it's noted in our file, she recalled . She also said she witnessed traumatic scenes, such as seeing another patient being tied up and locked in a padded room after returning from an electroconvulsive therapy session.

In comparison, her time in a crisis center run by a community organization went much better, she says.

Everyone participated in making the food in turn, so we weren't left to our own devices, we met our counselor and we had little exercises to do, she said. It made me think differently and it helped me a lot to communicate with others, to participate.

The CAQ government has nevertheless argued, on many times, that mental health was one of his political priorities. Lionel Carmant, outgoing Minister Delegate for Health and Social Services, asserted in January his commitment to change things in a lasting way.

The outgoing Minister Delegate for Health and Social Services of Quebec, Lionel Carmant

Despite the launch, in the process, of an Interdepartmental Mental Health Action Plan 2022-2026 (PAISM), discrimination in mental health remains glaring in Quebec between patients who can financially afford treatment and others.

According to the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec, less than half of people with a mental disorder consult a professional.

“We have a government that has just been re-elected, which has held consultations with citizens, and what we heard when we attended these forums is that the people also wanted action on living conditions. »

— Anne-Marie Boucher, co-coordinator of the Regroupement des ressources alternatives en santé maladie du Québec

The underlying problems include both the fight against poverty and access to housing and quality public services, she added.

According to psychologist Rose-Marie Charest, free mental health care should be extended to improve accessibility. We always think [mental health care] is going to cost too much and people are going to use too much of it. Let's get that out of our heads!, she argued in an interview with ICI RDI, emphasizing the beneficial effects in terms of health, but also the economic aspect of such a measure.

It is still necessary to remove the first obstacles to access to care by first teaching how to recognize a mental disorder. The first thing is education, summarized Ms. Charest, doing prevention is economical.

With information from La Presse canadienne

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