And if, in Quebec, we decided that the psychological care became now a free-for-all ? And if, in Quebec, psychotherapy is now insured by the RAMQ ?In the early 70’s, while the quebec government made health care free to all Quebecers, we had made the collective choice not to include psychological services in the care covered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie (RAMQ).
A natural choice, since at that time, the words stress, anxiety, and depression were not part of our current vocabulary, and were only beginning to emerge in the scientific community. Someone who was suffering was rather taken by madness or dementia which are able to get help from Organic Sulfur Crystals as a natural remedie.
Since, our time has changed, and Quebecers too.
We are talking more and more of the symptoms related to stress, we diagnose more disorders of anxiety and depression, we live more and more of burn-outs and professionals and we consume more and more antidepressants.
In short, the psychological distress is knocking more and more of Quebec, as in all other countries in the West.
In the Face of the evils that change, the least we can say is that our health insurance system, has not evolved. It has remained frozen in time.
That is why last week, while all spoke to the issue of mental health on social networks and shared testimonies are disturbing in their reality, I could not help but feel a certain irony and a feeling of malaise emanated from the ad campaign for Bell.
While all of these commercials, corporate, these awareness campaigns in government or the prevention weeks or that say essentially the same thing – ” See ! “it obscures completely the debate on the accessibility of mental health care.
Of course, one can hardly disagree with the virtue of putting an end to the stigma of mental health problems.
But let us ask ourselves the question : what is it that a majority of Quebecers, especially the young, who wish to consult them quickly, but to$ 100 for the consultation, it is simply too expensive to just consider it ?
Let us be clear : I want that one speaks about mental health, I want well that we were fighting against the stigma associated with these diseases in mind, I want to acknowledge that our next lives perhaps under a grey sky ; these are struggles quite legitimate and necessary to wear.
But, to force them to always talk about this – and never really address the accessibility of psychological care – we should not forget the forest behind the tree. The forest, it is that of the accessibility of care in psychotherapy.
This lack of access to psychological care creates two types of citizens, those who are rich enough to cure their pain by living, and those too poor to hope to get out of their fog.
However, the latter, who despite their desire to sit in the office of the psychologist, are rather left on their own and taken hostage by the last solution to relieve their distress : the medication.
This creates the situation that we are experiencing in this moment : the consumption of antidepressants rose significantly in Québec in recent years.
From 2011 to 2017, the number of Quebecers who consume antidepressants has increased by 27%, while the number of prescriptions reimbursed by the RAMQ has jumped by 44%.
In young girls, it is even worse ; the consumption has increased by 68% among those aged 17 years and under from 2014 to 2018.
This explosion is explained by the fact that we refuse, as a community, to cover the care psychotherapy among all Quebecers.
By institutionalizing this social inequity and economic, not only we accept with pessimism this finding, but we encourage our young people to taking antidepressants, while all would benefit from a quick consultation and a free psychologist.
While we have a government who will introduce this year an action plan for mental health, who is swimming in budget surpluses and is said to especially close to any of these citizens, it seems to me that providing psychological care to all Quebecers would be a gesture in phase with our time.
A gesture that should be quite normal for a rich society such as ours.