As President it is my pleasure to welcome you to the CPA website. Whether you are a psychologist or a member of the public with an interest in psychological research and/or psychological health and wellbeing, I hope you take some time to explore all the site has to offer.
During my 2012-2013 presidential year, I will focus on enhancing psychology’s advocacy footprint. It is both the science and practice of psychology that command our attention to advocacy. Psychologists in research and practice understand thinking, feeling and behaviour that are key to the success of individuals, families, the workplace and societies. We need to call for support for research, for practice and for the impact of our important work on public and health policy.
My particular interest is in advocating for improved access to psychological services in Canada. With the increasing recognition that our health care system must adapt to better meet the needs of Canadians, and the growing acceptance of the critical importance of life style choices and behaviour on wellbeing, the time for psychology is now! Other countries (e.g., the United Kingdom and Australia) have understood the benefit of making psychological services accessible with large, government sponsored programs. These governments made that choice based on evidence demonstrating that early and easy access to psychologists keeps people healthy longer, assists recovery from illness or accident, saves money and enables people to return to their productive working lives more quickly.
Evidence for the utility and cost effectiveness of psychological interventions is clear and will be made even clearer through two CPA initiatives: the first is to update the Cost Effectiveness of Psychological Interventions written by Dr. John Hunsley in 2002 (http://www.cpa.ca/cpasite/userfiles/Documents/publications/Cost-Effectiveness.pdf) and the second is to engage a health economist to make the business case for improved access to psychologists. We expect both these work products to be completed by end 2012 or early 2013. We will need to USE these work products to advocate for better access to psychological services. To do so, we will require lots of psychologists to act as foot soldiers to take this message to their local government members. Politicians pay most attention to their own constituents. All politics are local.
As another initiative, I will work with CPA senior staff and relevant experts to revise the CPA Advocacy Guide and to make sure that all psychologists have the resources they need when they sit down to speak with their government representatives. As another resource, each year at Convention there is a pre-convention workshop on Advocacy which I encourage you to attend.
CPA’s 2012/13 advocacy work and initiatives have potential for tremendous impact but come with costs. I encourage you to consider a donation to CPA advocacy activity: either directed to the Science Directorate for their efforts to improve funding for psychological research or directed to the Practice Directorate to support initiatives to improve access to psychological services across the country. Please check out both of these areas (Practitioners or Researchers on the menu bar) on our website to see what they are working on and how your support could benefit these activities.
I would like to encourage our Student Affiliates to incorporate advocacy skills into their career tool kits. We can help the next generation to become champions for the dissemination of psychological research and its application to the practice of psychology. I look forward to liaising with the student section of the CPA for this purpose.
I encourage you as well to check out the issues of Psynopsis for updates written by our CEO, Dr. Karen Cohen, to learn more about all the amazing work she and her team at the CPA head office is doing to partner with other associations and organizations to support collective efforts to improve Canadians’ wellbeing. Scientists, practitioners, students and partners: together our voice is stronger and our impact on Canada’s mental health and wellbeing greater felt. Please join us!
Dr. Jennifer Frain, C.Psych.