Strong Majority of Canadians Want Improved Access to Psychologists

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Strong Majority of Canadians Want Improved Access to Psychologists

January 5, 2021 (Ottawa) – Canada and countries throughout the world increasingly recognize the importance of mental health to the success of their citizens, economies and societies.  The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a significant burden on our mental health and wellbeing, making the need for timely access to mental health care even more urgent.

The Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) and the Council of Professional Associations of Psychologists (CPAP) asked Nanos Research to survey over 3,000 Canadians to better understand how they perceive the role of psychologists, the barriers and solutions to accessing care, and the quality of care they receive.

“This survey shines a light on the importance Canadians place on their mental health and the value they place on psychologists in helping people address their mental health problems”, said Dr. Karen Cohen, CEO, CPA.  “Canadians are clear that Canada needs innovative and sustainable solutions across the public and private sectors that will improve timely access to evidence-based mental health care for people who need it”.

“The need for additional investments to care for those with mental health and substance use problems has never been more acute”, said Mr. Christopher Cameron, CPAP Executive Director.  “More specialized and individual care will be needed by those Canadians with pre-existing mental health conditions and by those who develop them as a result of COVID-19”.

The survey found:

Barriers to Access Care

  • 78% of Canadians report that psychological services costing too much for them to pay for themselves is a very significant (52%) or somewhat significant (26%) barrier.
  • 73% of Canadians say that the services of psychologists are not being covered by provincial/territorial health plans is a very significant (47%) or significant (26%) barrier.
  • 68% of Canadians say wait times to see a psychologist being too long is a very significant (35%) or somewhat significant (33%) barrier.
  • 66% of Canadians say that psychological services not being covered by their employer’s health benefit plan is a very significant (40%) or somewhat significant (26%) barrier.
  • 46% of Canadians say that preferring to deal with these problems/disorders on their own is a very significant (16%) or somewhat significant (30%) barrier.
  • 39% of Canadians say not wanting others to know they are seeing a psychologist is a very significant (14%) or somewhat significant (25%) barrier.

Solutions to Improve Access to Care

  • Almost 9 out of 10 Canadians (57%) support or somewhat support (31%) improving access to psychologists through the publicly-funded health care system.
  • 83% of Canadians say psychologists working collaboratively with other health professionals, such as a family physician in primary care teams, is a very good idea (50%) or good idea (33%).
  • 76% of Canadians think that better access (more funded mental health care services and higher financial caps) to psychologists through their employer health benefit plan is a very good idea (42%) or good idea (34%).

A majority of Canadians perceive psychologists as being effective in helping people with specific mental health problems like depression, anxiety, learning disabilities, dementia, addiction, and the stress of being diagnosed with a disease.  Canadians also perceive psychologists as being effective in diagnosing people with mental health problems like depression, anxiety, learning disabilities, dementia and addiction.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reached beyond our physical health and we are likely to feel its psychological and social impacts for some time to come.  We must invest and protect our most valuable assets…people.  There is no health without mental health.  The CPA is committed to working collaboratively with all levels of government, employers and insurers to ensure that Canadians receive evidence-based care where, and when, they need it.  The time to act is now.

To review the results in detail – which includes a breakdown by provinces and territories, gender and age, please to the CPA’s website:  cpa.ca.

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About the CPA

The Canadian Psychological Association is the national voice for the science, practice and education of psychology in the service of the health and welfare of Canadians.  The CPA is Canada’s largest association for psychology and represents psychologists in public and private practice, university educators and researchers, as well as students.  Psychologists are the country’s largest group of regulated and specialized mental health providers, making our profession a key resource for the mental health treatment Canadians need.

About CPAP

The Council of Professional Associations of Psychologists is comprised of 13 national, provincial and territorial psychology associations, and has four objectives: facilitating knowledge exchange amongst member associations; identify and share best practices amongst member associations; advocating for the needs of Canadian psychologists and the people that they support; and develop leadership potential and capacity in Canadian psychologists.

About the Survey

Nanos Research conducted a representative online survey of 3,070 Canadians, drawn from a non-probability panel between September 25th and October 2nd, 2020.  The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada.  The research was commissioned by the Canadian Psychological Association and was conducted by Nanos Research.

Contact: Mr. Eric Bollman
Communications Specialist
Canadian Psychological Association
(613) 853-1061
ebollman@cpa.ca(613) 853-1061


To view the national survey results, click HERE.

Provincial/Territorial Survey Results:


The CPA is now receiving abstracts for its 2021 convention.


Spanning three weeks from June 7th – 25th, the CPA’s 2021 Virtual Event will provide many opportunities for personal and professional growth, and highlight the many ways in which the science, practice, and education of psychology can benefit society, improve lives, and advance the discipline.

Click here to submit an abstract.

  1. Deadline for submissions for 3- and 6-hour workshops extended to January 22nd, 2021.
  2. Deadline for submissions for all other presentation types is January 22nd, 2021.

CPA members, affiliates and non-members and non-affiliates are encouraged to submit!

If you have any questions, please consult the FAQ page.


Practice Disruption Insurance Coverage

Any CPA member, or any member of a provincial/territorial association of psychology, who purchased the Clinic/Business insurance package through BMS, in the year ending June 2020, and wishes information or advice about practice disruption coverage as the result of COVID-19, please contact Chris Blom at Miller Thomson cblom@millerthomson.com  


Call for Papers on the COVID-19 Pandemic With a Rapid Review Process

The COVID-19 pandemic is having many life-altering short- and likely long-term effects. There are many potential applications of psychological theory, practice, and research that have can contribute to the public good at this time of national and international crisis. 

American Psychologist (APhttps://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/amp/) invites papers related directly to the pandemic. As for all APmanuscripts, we seek high-impact papers of broad interest covering science, practice, education, or policy. Manuscripts should be written in a style that is accessible to all psychologists and the public.

We will follow our usual procedures and conduct a quick initial review of submissions to assure a fit with the type of articles published in this journal. Those manuscripts selected for further consideration will be peer reviewed and fast-tracked for publication if accepted. We will strive to provide editorial decision letters within one week of completed submission. Authors will be expected to revise manuscripts promptly. Accepted articles will be posted online within a short time frame and prioritized for publication.

Manuscripts will be considered as they are received. Authors should follow AP’s Instructions for Authors and submit to the manuscript portal, selecting as article type “COVID-19”(https://www.editorialmanager.com/amp/). We ask that you indicate prominently in your cover letter that your manuscript is related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please notify Anne Kazak, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, of your paper title with a brief synopsis of your planned submission as early as possible (AP.COVID@gmail.com). 

Amanda Clinton, PhD
Senior Director

Subject: COVID-19 Call for Assistance

Dear Colleagues,

Please find attached a letter relating to the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada sent on behalf of Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Tina Namiesniowski, President of the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Stephen Lucas, Deputy Minister of Health Canada. Thank you for your assistance.

Sincerely,

Office of the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada

Letter to Health Professional Associations Eng.pdf


Interim Ethical Guidelines for Psychological Services Via Electronic Media

The following interim guidelines were developed by the CPA Committee on Ethics. They were approved in principle by the CPA Board in June 2006, and distributed for consultation in draft form. The interim guidelines were provided in March of 2020.

https://cpa.ca/docs/File/Ethics/CPAe-therapyGuidelinesUpdate2020.pdf

Psychology works for COVID-19. Psychologists giving back to front line service providers.

COVID-19 Front Line Workers

COVID-19 is having a significant impact on the mental health of Canadians, none more so than those who are working on the front lines of health care. Canadians with COVID-19 depend on the expertise of health care providers. The health and well-being of those providers are critical to them being able to deliver this expertise. Hundreds of registered psychologists have signed on to an initiative of the CPA to provide psychological services, via tele-health, to health care providers working at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. Click here to read more about this initiative and to find a psychologist in your area who has volunteered to provide psychological services at no charge.

If you are a psychologist registered to practice in Canada and would like to donate some of your time to provide psychological services to front line health care providers who may be feeling stressed, overwhelmed or distressed by being on the front lines of this COVID-related health crisis, please click here to register: https://web2.cpa.ca/membersurveys/index.php/451688?lang=en.

Frequently Asked Questions

Violence Evidence Guidance Action (VEGA) educational resources

Thanks to everyone who has helped us get to this “go live” day!  The Violence Evidence Guidance Action (VEGA) educational resources can now be accessed publicly.  Here is how you can get access:

For new users

Visit https://vegaproject.mcmaster.ca/.  Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Register now” under ‘Registration for Individuals”.  You will be taken to a simple form to fill out.   The form will be in the same language as you see on the website.  Once submitted you will be sent a welcome email with your username, password, and login instructions.

For returning users

Visit https://vegaproject.mcmaster.ca/  Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Click here to login to the VEGA Education Resources Website” under ‘Already Registered’.  You will be taken directly to the login form of the VEGA Education Resources website.  If you have forgotten your password or username, click on “Forgotten your username or password’ to recover your login details.

We hope that you will use these resources and encourage your colleagues to access them as well.  All comments including suggestions for improvements are welcome! 

Supplementary Health Insurance Explained

CPA is glad to announce the launch of a guide intended to support health providers whose services are covered or reimbursed through private extended health insurance plans.  The guide, initiated by the CPA, was the result of a collaboration among several regulated health provider associations and the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA). It is intended to help healthcare providers understand the private health insurance environment so they can in turn help their patients and clients understand the services they receive through their insurance plans. 

The guide can be found on CLHIA’s website here