Options for improving access to counselling, psychotherapy and psychological services for mental health problems and illnesses
In 2012, Changing Directions, Changing Lives: The Mental Health Strategy for Canada advanced two recommendations to enable wider and more equitable access to counselling, psychotherapy and psychological services for mental health problems and illnesses: 3.2.4 Increase access to psychotherapies and clinical counselling by service providers who are qualified to deliver approaches that are based on best available evidence. 3.2.5 Remove financial barriers for children and youth and their families to access psychotherapies and clinical counselling.(17)
Robert Salois, the Quebec Commissioner for Health and Well-Being, concluded his review of the case for improving access to psychotherapy by stating that the main issue to be debated was no long whether such improved access was needed, but rather what means should to be taken to accomplish the task. He wrote: … given the numerous arguments in favour of psychotherapy, the issue facing Canadian policymakers is no longer whether to increase access to it, but rather to consider what is the best approach to providing broader and more equitable access to psychotherapy services.(7)1 The main purpose of this paper is to help advance the discussion of the options for increasing access to
counselling, psychotherapy and psychological services for mental health problems and illnesses. It is important, however, to begin by briefly reviewing the abundant, and widely-accepted, evidence in support of the benefits that would flow from improved access to these services.