Publicly funded Psychotherapy - the Future?

According to this recent article in the Globe and Mail, a report published in Quebec is highlighting the long-lasting benefits that psychotherapy can have on symptoms of depression and anxiety. The article mentions that there is research to support that psychotherapy is the most cost-effective and lasting treatment for depression and anxiety, but is not recommended as a first line of treatment for many individuals. Medications are often the first explored line of treatment for Canadians when they are experiencing mental health challenges. 

This happens for a few reasons. For one, accessing psychotherapy is difficult based on long-wait lists and limited programs, especially ones that are publicly funded. Secondly, privately funded psychotherapy is often financially out of reach for individuals if they do not have insurance that covers sessions. Also, most insurance programs will also often only cover a few sessions which for most, is not enough to effectively treat symptoms. Thirdly, medications may be prescribed as a quick fix for someone's mental health challenges without exploring other treatment options which take more effort up front, but have better long-term effects. 

Until psychotherapy is publicly funded (explained more here), workplaces can explore increasing the funding allocated to psychotherapy sessions in their insurance and EAP plans. Workplace education about psychotherapy and it's benefits can also be helpful for employees who might be experiencing symptoms but are unaware of their treatment options. Many think medication is the only option. Increasing awareness treatment options can provide hope for those experiencing challenges related to their mental health and empower them to choose a treatment option they think will work for them.

We are finding this focus on increasing access to psychotherapy encouraging. The more research that can support it's benefits, especially on the cost effectiveness of this treatment, the more people this treatment can help. 

Let us know what you think about current access to psychotherapy services in the comments below.