Therapy Is Medicine, Too:
Government Funding for Psychologists
The World Happiness Report was released March 10, 2021 and the evidence is conclusive and compelling: societies that invest in mental and behavioural treatment as part of their healthcare system are healthier, happier, and are flourishing economically.
Canadians have suffered so much over the past year. Depression, anxiety, and people contemplating suicide are at an all time high. Moreover, ninety-two percent of those hospitalized with COVID-19 had at least one underlying chronic health condition. Sadly, these issues—high levels of chronic illness and distress in our population—are not new. The pandemic has simply shone a light on our greatest areas of vulnerability. However, we also believe that events of the past year present us with a rare opportunity: to make things better.
Now is the time to ensure that British Columbians have access to psychologists as a part of their healthcare.
While there are many different ways that psychologists can help, one tangible step towards integrating healthcare is placing them in family doctors’ offices. Four decades of research from across the globe, including New Zealand, the UK, and Australia, have shown that integrating psychology into family doctors’ offices works. Benefits include:
- reductions in anxiety, depression, suicidality (the 9th leading cause of death in Canada)
- improved physical health
- increases in happiness and overall well being
- reductions in chronic disease
- reductions in deaths from noncommunicable diseases (e.g., heart disease, diabetes)
- decreased utilization of healthcare services
- reduced stigma for mental health services
- increased availability of family doctors for physical health concerns
We know that our government is concerned about costs. We are too. Thankfully, research shows that integrating psychologists into primary care would save at least two dollars for every dollar spent. By treating people when problems arise (rather than waiting until people are ill or in crisis), and providing on-going care, people are healthier and happier.
Another way that psychologists can help is by being able to bill MSP directly for patients seen in private practice. Integrating psychology into family doctors’ offices will not replace specialty mental health services for those who need it. We believe that anyone who needs to see a psychologist should be able to be referred to one in the same way that they referred to any other health specialty. After all, therapy is medicine, too.
We can do this. But, we cannot do it alone. We need your support. If you believe that British Columbians should have access to psychologists please add your voice by signing this letter of support and using the hashtag #TherapyIsMedicineToo on social media.
Let’s work together and support our government as we move towards a truly universal healthcare system!
The British Columbia Psychological Association
Media Contact: Hayley Mica at Jelly Marketing (firstname.lastname@example.org)
 Mental Health Research Canada (Pollara Strategic Insights) - Mental Health During COVID-19 Outbreak: Poll #5 of 13 in Series (Data collected in February, 2021).
 Mental Health Commission of Canada (March, 2017) - Strengthening the Case for Investing in Canada’s Mental Health System: Economic Considerations
Check #Therapyismedicinetoo mentions in the media here