Improving Access to Psychotherapy - INESSS Publishes its First Two Reports
The Coalition for Access to Psychotherapy (CAP) believes that the Government of Québec should implement a publicly insured program that would provide psychotherapy services to those who need them. CAP was convened in March 2013 by the Graham Boeckh Foundation and the Mental Illness Foundation to work towards widening access to psychotherapy in Quebec. CAP was formed following the recommendation made by the Health and Welfare Commissioner of Quebec, in his assessment of mental healthcare services, on access to psychotherapy services.
Following the mandate given to it by the Quebec government in 2012, the Institut national d’excellence en santé et services sociaux (INESSS) has published two of its much anticipated reports on access to psychotherapy services (reports available at www.capqc.ca
). The third report, which will describe financial aspects and the way in which psychotherapy services can be implemented in Quebec, is expected in 2016.
INESSS’s first report on the effectiveness and cost of psychotherapy services concludes that psychotherapy is just as effective as medication in treating mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, and is less costly than medication.
The second report notes that countries that have implemented public programs have established clinical practice guidelines that define the conditions under which services should be provided. Specifically, guidelines state that people with depressive or anxiety disorders should have access to professionals with the appropriate expertise and training, that services should draw from evidence-based treatment and that the patient’s preference regarding the choice of treatment should be taken into account. INESSS also recognizes that the practice of psychotherapy in Quebec is already governed by a law that requires professionals to be licensed to practise psychotherapy and that defines the conditions they must meet in order to acquire and maintain this right.
CAP’s spokespeople had a very good meeting with the Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services and his directors in May 2015. Both parties agree that increased access to psychotherapy services is an important need. The challenge will be in defining the financial aspects of implementing a province-wide program. INESSS’s final report is expected to address this challenge.