Waiting lists closed to the private sector to consult a psychologist in Quebec

Spread the love

Waiting lists closed to the private sector to consult a psychologist in Quebec

The prolonged effects of the pandemic on mental health partly explain the saturation of the private network.

Private clinics in Quebec are closing their waiting list because of too much demand for a consultation with a psychologist. Even if the political parties in the campaign position themselves on mental health issues, both the private and public sectors agree that the situation will not improve overnight.

Our waiting list is full. Watch for updates on our site, can we read on the website of the Limoilou Psychology Center. Due to a very high number of requests, most of our waiting lists are closed, indicates for its part the Quebec Psychology Clinic. Please note that our neuropsychology waiting list is currently closed, we also read on the website of the Center de Psychologie la Cité, in Quebec.

I've been practicing for 30 years and I've never seen a situation like this, says Dr. Christine Grou, psychologist and president of the Order of Psychologists of Quebec .

“We used to say to the public: waiting lists vary depending on the service. We said to ourselves, at least, [that] people who have the means could go to the private sector. […] This is no longer true. »

— Dr. Christine Grou, President of the Order of Psychologists of Quebec

This overload of the private sector is attributable to a set of factors, including the exodus of potential patients from the public network to the private sector and greater ease in discussing mental health issues.

Christine Grou, president of the Order of Psychologists of Quebec.

But it is above all the extension of the effects of the pandemic on the mental health of Quebecers that explains it. People are much less reluctant to go for a consultation. The pandemic has had truly impressive effects, explains Christine Grou. We have seen an increase in consultations for anxiety, depressive disorder and interpersonal tensions.

“People call us and say, 'I' I've made 20-30 calls [to psychologists], and I can't find it.” »

— Dr. Christine Grou, President of the Order of Psychologists of Quebec

The Order therefore asked its members to be diligent. If they are unable to take on new clients, say so. Otherwise, people are waiting for an answer, specifies Ms. Grou.

While Quebec has almost half of the psychologists in Canada, how can this saturation in the private sector be explained? We must first improve working conditions in the public sector, which is seeing its number of psychologists drop from year to year, according to the Coalition of Psychologists of the Quebec Public Network.

This is proof that it is urgent, believes the president, Dr. Karine Gauthier, psychologist. For four years, she has been asking the government to improve the retention of psychologists in the network by focusing on interdisciplinarity and greater professional autonomy, in particular.

“There are people who find themselves in the private sector because the services are not or very little offered to the public. There are people who go into debt to consult because it is so important, especially for their children. It creates another stress which is financial. It adds heaviness. »

— Dr. Karine Gauthier, psychologist, president of the Coalition of Psychologists of the Quebec Public Network.

Karine Gauthier, President of the Coalition of Psychologists of the Quebec Public Network.

While the last Legault government tried to tackle the problem of accessibility, the waiting list to consult a psychologist in this public sector has increased by 16,000 to 21,000 people over the past two years, an increase of 30%.

Québec solidaire proposes to add 900 psychologists and 1000 mental health professionals in the public network to remedy the problem by improving salaries, in particular. A 62% increase that would force the public to recruit in the private sector.

However, this private sector is also saturated. The announcements that are being made are a sign that the parties are investing in mental health and see the importance of it. The problem is knowing how we are going to do it, answers the president of the Order of Psychologists.

On the Liberal side, the party proposes the establishment of a free public psychotherapy service. The cost of this program, which includes 15 free counseling sessions per year, is estimated at $450 million by 2027. The Liberal leader remained more vague on how to ensure that there will be enough psychologists in the network to meet demand. Minister Lionel Carmant put this solution in place with the 25 million at the start of the pandemic. To take people from the waiting list in the network and reimburse the sessions privately, it did not work. Only 15% of the budget has been used, replies Karine Gauthier.

At the beginning of the year, the CAQ presented a $1.2 billion five-year plan for mental health, including $361 million in new investments.

During the Force jeunesse congress, the leader of the Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, brought up the issue of accessibility around the role of the psychologist who, according to him, should be more extensive.

Within the first 100 days of a Conservative government, a Mental Health and Youth Summit would be held. We barely measure the devastating effect of the lack of socialization and the lack of sports activities on young people, said Conservative Leader Éric Duhaime.

Previous Article
Next Article