B.C. psychologists warn there is a need for better access to mental health plans across the state.
Dr. Erica Penner, a Vancouver-based psychologist, said:
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The BC Psychological Association is appealing to states to include psychologist care in their public health systems through primary care, just like the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom.
“We feel that creating mental health services within primary care is at least a starting point. We catch people wherever they go,” Penner told Global News.
Mental health support is currently only available in person or through a work plan.
And many psychologists, like Mr. Penner, are so full and in demand that they don’t even add their patients to the waiting list.
But integration into public systems will change the model to make the most of limited trained professionals, she says.
“We know people see their primary care psychologist two to three times a year,” says Penner.
“We are seeing a big shift in mental health in terms of short-term, targeted interventions.”
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A 2020 Nanos poll found that 86% of British Columbians fully or partially support funding the health care system.
A poll found that 77% of people said they couldn’t get the care they needed because of the cost, and 75% said they didn’t seek help because their health insurance didn’t cover it.
About 66% are concerned about waiting times, and 64% say their work plans don’t cover enough costs.
The state said it was open to considering improved integration that BC Greens has long sought.
“We need to be aware of the mental health implications, which are indistinguishable from physical injuries,” said BC Prime Minister David Eby.
Adam Olsen, former caretaker leader of the BC Green Party, said: “We need to recognize that the mind is part of the body, we need a holistic approach, people need to reach out to psychologists. You can do that if you want.”
The Mental Health Commission of Canada says that every $1 invested in mental health care saves $2 elsewhere in the system.
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