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What might you ask of your political candidate when it comes to psychological services?

  1. Does your party platform contain anything related to the psychological health of Ontarians?
  2. Do you support parity between resources made available for treatment of psychological and physical health problems?
  3. Do you support the specific inclusion of initiatives related to psychological health and addictions for 2014 when the federal-provincial health accord comes up for renewal?
  4. What will your party do to improve access to psychological services in Ontario and in this riding, particularly for middle and low income Ontarians?

Advocacy Messages

  1. Psychological well-being, problems and disorders concern all Ontarians
  2. Psychological services are proven effective in helping Ontarians to maintain psychological health and to deal with psychological problems and disorders.
  3. Ontario’s public and private health care insurance plans don’t do enough to ensure Ontarians have adequate and equal access to psychological services.
  4. People in lower and middle income brackets face particularly significant barriers when it comes to the cost of psychological services in this province.
  5. Ontario’s government, employers and private insurers must do more to ensure all Canadians – regardless of income – can access the psychological care they need.

Solutions

  1. The Government of Ontario must quickly develop and implement a formula to fund mental health on an equal footing with physical health based on factors such as incidence, prevalence and burden of disease.
  2. The Government of Ontario should enter into discussions with the Ontario Psychological Association to expand admitting and discharging responsibilities to include psychologists in Ontario’s health care institutions.
  3. The Government of Ontario can develop a pilot project in several hospitals across Ontario to provide psychological emergency assessment and brief intervention services in emergency rooms to patients with undiagnosed medical conditions (UMC). Patients with UMC’s present with physical symptoms that, after extensive diagnostic investigations, are found to not have a physical illness. They often suffer from a psychological problem or disorder that manifests itself with physical symptoms. One example is chest pains that could be indicative of a heart attack, but may manifest an anxiety disorder. The goal is to provide appropriate assessment and treatment services for these patients, and to reduce the load on emergency services in hospitals. Psychologists have the legal authority to diagnose and the extensive training and skills to quickly assess the patients’ needs, reduce their anxiety, and to suggest alternate and more appropriate outpatient services.
  4. The Ontario Government should work with the OPA to develop a framework for providing psychological services with and through Family Health Teams, Community Mental Health Centres in Ontario, and Ontario’s schools.
  5. The political parties in Ontario adopt a motion similar to the motion of the New Democratic Party of Manitoba (April, 2010): Ontario Resolution on Psychological Services.