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The Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) congratulates the Mental Health Commission of Canada

Ottawa, May 8, 2012 – The Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) congratulates the Mental Health Commission of Canada on the launch of its mental health strategy. This is an extremely significant achievement for Canada’s mental health. CPA is especially pleased to see the Commission recognize the pressing need to increase access to psychotherapies for people with mental health problems.

In any given year, one in five people in Canada is living with a mental health problem or disorder with estimated costs to the economy of 51 billion dollars annually. Psychological treatments are among the most effective treatments for common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. They are considered the treatment of choice for anxiety disorders and significantly reduce the risk of relapse for depression. Psychologists are the largest, regulated, specialized mental health care providers in the country. However, the services of psychologists are not funded by provincial health insurance plans, which make them inaccessible to many Canadians with modest incomes or no insurance. Although there are some publically funded services available in Canada, these are often in short supply, wait lists are long and the criteria to access these services can be restrictive.”The release of Canada’s very first mental health strategy today is only the beginning. The next step will be for government to adequately fund and implement the strategy. With national leadership and provincial partnerships, it is possible for Canadians to get the help they need when they need it,” said Dr. Karen Cohen, Chief Executive Officer of the CPA.

“As the fifth largest provider of health services in the country, the Federal Government can claim several areas where it has sole jurisdiction and can act immediately to implement the strategy. It can improve its own capacity to develop mental health policy and deliver services in areas such as First Nations, Inuit and Metis, National Defence, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Veterans and Corrections”, said Dr. David Dozois, CPA President.

“The Federal government can also take immediate action by setting up an innovation fund to assist provinces and territories in developing a sustainable mental health infrastructure across Canada that will help improve access to mental health services. The United Kingdom has invested to make psychological therapies more accessible, and Australia has also enhanced access to psychologists through its publicly funded health insurance plans. Now Canada must do the same,” added Dr. Cohen.

About: The Canadian Psychological Association is the national association for the science, practice and education of psychology in Canada. With over 6600 members and affiliates, CPA is Canada’s largest professional association for psychology.

For further information:
Tyler Stacey-Holmes
(613) 237-2144, x325
[email protected]
www.cpa.ca