Mental Health: Force jeunesse's call for help | Elections Quebec 2022

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Mental health: the call for help from Force jeunesse | ÉQuebec 2022 elections

Accessibility of services and reduction in waiting times expectation, attraction and retention of the workforce, strengthening of the public service… so many subjects on which the candidates were invited to express themselves.

During the election campaign, Liberal leader Dominique Anglade often highlighted the personal example of her own mother to illustrate mental health issues and their repercussions within families.

Eighteen billion dollars: this is the cost of inaction in the mental health file in Quebec evaluated by Force Jeunesse… estimates from before the pandemic.

The organization for the defense of the rights and interests of Quebec youth called on the main parties at its convention on Saturday, inviting them to express their views on the urgent need for a universal and free access to psychotherapy.

The attractiveness of the public sector at half mast, staff shortages, increased demand from patients… The solutions provided were based on a sad assessment that everyone shared for this category of care.

The Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ), through the voice of Geneviève Guilbault, outgoing Deputy Premier, has nevertheless attempted to catch up politically by putting forward above all the investments of its government: $1.5 billion over five years and $95 million for access to specialized care in CEGEPs and universities.

And it works very well, we have almost 10,000 young people who have benefited from these services, mentioned the CAQ candidate to the members of the congress.

There remains the thorny question of the competitiveness of the public sector, she acknowledged, and therefore of the increase in current wages; a commitment that Ms. Guilbault did not want to quantify.

She nevertheless mentioned big increases like those offered to daycare educators, nurses and teachers, she cited as an example.

Outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Geneviève Guilbault meets the media after attending the annual conference of Force Jeunesse at HEC Montreal.

As for the universality of this type of care advocated by Force jeunesse, a recommendation for treatment regardless of income, the outgoing Deputy Prime Minister replied that universality already existed, but was accompanied by long delays.

Anyone can call their CLSC, but sometimes it's so long that it's not realistic, admitted Ms. Guilbault.

The research report commissioned by Force jeunesse and published at the end of August mentions delays of up to 24 months, due to a lack of psychologists in the public network.

If his party is re-elected, he undertakes to bring back reasonable periods of access to physical and mental health care at the end of a new mandate.

With [the outgoing Minister of Health] Christian Dubé, we are really in the process of making a big shift, she assured, mentioning the collaboration of representative bodies such as the College of Physicians and major nurses unions.

The rival parties then took turns to share their various possible solutions while slipping in some more general guidelines for their policies.

Liberal leader Dominique Anglade has bet on the return of experienced workers: real incentives for professionals over the age of 65, but also childcare services available for women at work. households who are considering a return to the labor market.

Another lever for action: the reception of qualified immigrants, or even the acceleration of the recognition of diplomas obtained abroad.

At the Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon brought up the issue of accessibility around the role of the psychologist which, according to him, should be more extensive.

If psychologists could make a diagnosis, it would save time, he suggested, questioning the mandatory visit to a general practitioner to obtain a referral.

Incidentally, the PQ leader denounced the tax cuts proposed by his CAQ and Conservative rivals without naming them: When other parties offer tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest or tax cuts because it's electoral, it will be transferred to our public services which will experience another wave of austerity, he warned.

“We talk a lot about waiting lists for surgeries, but I think we don't talk enough about the other catch-up: mental health,” said Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire (QS )

For his part, the spokesperson for Québec solidaire put forward the candidacy of Mélissa Généreux, professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Sherbrooke and medical advisor to the Public Health Department of the CIUSSS de l'Estrie.

She told me that the impact following the pandemic was similar to the impact of a natural disaster, shared Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. The slope we have to climb is enormous.

The solidarity candidate has proposed the hiring of 900 new psychotherapists and 1,000 other mental health professionals, for an investment estimated at 280 million dollars per year, although Quebec is currently the place in Canada where there are the most shrinks per head of pipe, illustrated Mr. Nadeau-Dubois.

While recognizing the attractiveness of the private sector in the face of the public system, he did not undertake to nationalize everything. We are going to improve the salary [to the public], and professional autonomy, replied the QS spokesperson, promising to make up for the 30% salary gap with the private sector, and even to reverse the trend of attractiveness for the public system to prevail, stripped of bureaucratic red tape.

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