An Advocacy Guide for Psychologists

PSYCHOLOGY AND PUBLIC POLICY

 

 

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Appendix A. Model Letters

Letter from a Practitioner to an Editor


The Psychological Factor

A March 21 article on health care and cost containment failed to point out that one of the major factors that has increased the cost of health care over the years has been the lack of available publicly funded psychological services. Such services could significantly decrease the overall cost of medical care if readily available.

Several studies have shown that up to 50 percent of all physician visits are made by individuals who have some type of psychological problem or whose physical problem has a substantial psychological component.

If practitioners had publicly funded comprehensive psychological services to which to refer the patient, this could significantly decrease the number of visits to the family physician, decrease the cost of overall health care, and reduce human suffering.

A comprehensive study reported in the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science showed that overall medical costs were reduced by 10 percent to 33 percent when psychological treatments were provided.

The stigma that was so long associated with psychological care has receded. Availability of publicly funded psychological services becomes of prime importance under any type of comprehensive health plan.

Name M. Surname
Registered Psychologist
Hometown

 

Letter from a University Professor to an Editor


Universities and Society

As a professor of Psychology at Hometown University, I was very interested in your recent article concerning funding for science which appeared in your Saturday, January 6 edition. In that article, the author, staff reporter Dirty Rotten Guy, argued that the government spends too much money on universities and that a better use of the money would be for professors to spend more time teaching and less time "on other things".

Universities are mandated to do a number of things. One of their primary duties is to teach inquisitive undergraduate minds and to nurture budding scholars and scientists. Canadian universities do this very well when compared to the rest of the world. Students learn best about specific subjects when they have the opportunity to learn from those who actually do the research, who are up to date and who can help them participate. We all learn best by doing.

Research helps Canada stay modern and strong in comparison to its global partners. Research helps us make Canadian society better. My research, for example, has helped children with learning difficulties succeed in school. We have developed a method for assessing reading and speaking problems by examining how the brain works. Other colleagues have taken this research and developed ways of helping parents, teachers and psychologists improve children’s learning. Many of my students have directly helped in this important work.

There are many examples at Hometown University of the importance of research to students and to society. We need to support these efforts to ensure we have excellent graduates, a better economy and a strong society.

Name M. Surname
Professor
Hometown

 

Letter from a Graduate Student to a Member of Parliament


Name M. Surname, M.A.
Psychology Department
Hometown University
Hometown, Province, Postal Code

Today’s Date
Mr. Name Surname, MP
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6

Dear Member of Parliament:

As a university graduate student in Hometown University’s Department of Psychology, I am writing to urge your support for the document "Toward an Innovative Society" published jointly by the Canadian Consortium for Research, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the Canadian Association of University Teachers, the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada, and the Canadian Federation of Students. This document addresses some of the crucial financial issues facing students in Canada today.

Student undergraduate debt is rising. Many students graduate with loans totalling twenty to thirty thousand dollars. This scares away many students from impoverished backgrounds, makes holding at least one part-time job a must and puts an unfair burden on poorer students when they graduate. Financially advantaged students do not have these concerns.

Graduate studies are becoming harder to attain as well. Students with high debt loads are less inclined to go on to graduate school. Reduced funding for the federal granting councils means less money for departments such as mine to support students.

This issue greatly concerns the young people of Canada today. We students see a bleaker future due to these recent federal government initiatives to reduce funding to the provinces for education. If continued, there will be one Canada for the rich and one Canada for the poor. The gap between the financially advantaged and the financially disadvantaged will widen.

I urge you to seriously consider the proposals on student support and research set forth in the document entitled "Towards an Innovative Society" which I have enclosed. I hope you will champion these issues with your colleagues in Caucus and in your other activities as a Parliamentarian. I look forward to hearing your comments.

Sincerely,

Name M. Surname, M.A.
Psychology Graduate Student

Cc : Canadian Psychological Association
Canadian Federation of Students
Canadian Council of Professional Psychology Programs
Council of Canadian Departments of Psychology

 

Letter from a University Professor to a Member of Parliament


Name M. Surname, Ph.D.
Psychology Department
Hometown University
Hometown, Province, Postal Code

Today’s Date

The Honourable Name M. Surname, PC, MP
Minister of _______________
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6
Dear Minister:

I am a research psychologist and a constituent, and I am writing to urge you to support the document "Towards an Innovative Society" published by the Canadian Consortium for Research. This document sets forward a realistic plan to strengthen Canadian research in all areas including psychology.

I do research here at Hometown University designed to learn more about memory. This research helps us better understand human memory and can be applied to help health care workers diagnose and treat head injuries, educators to assist children with learning difficulties and computer engineers to develop the next generation of artificial intelligence.

The research infrastructure in Canada is deteriorating and investment in research and development is falling further behind our industrialized partners due to a lack of federal funding. This will only hurt Canada’s long-term economic competitiveness.

I believe, as do my colleagues in the Canadian Psychological Association and the Council of Canadian Departments of Psychology, that the document authored by the Canadian Consortium for Research, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the Canadian Association of University Teachers, the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada, and the Canadian Federation of Students offers realistic solutions that are fiscally responsible.

I urge you to become an advocate for the proposals contained in the document "Towards an Innovative Society" which will help support Canada’s research enterprise. A copy from the Canadian Psychological Association will be arriving at your office in the very near future. Please speak positively about the issues in Caucus and as you execute your parliamentary duties. I look forward to hearing your comments on this issue and appreciate any support you can give our nation’s research.

Sincerely,

Name M. Surname, Ph.D.
Professor

Cc: Canadian Psychological Association
Canadian Consortium for Research
Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Sciences
Council of Canadian Departments of Psychology

 

Letter from a Practitioner to a Member of Parliament


Name M. Surname, Ph.D.
Psychology Department
Hometown Children’s Hospital
Hometown, Province, Postal Code

Today’s Date

Ms. Name M. Surname, MP
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6

Dear Member of Parliament:

As a psychologist and a constituent, I am writing to urge you to support the Health Action Lobby’s (HEAL) Report of November 1998 to the Standing Committee on Finance. The Canadian health care system is under tremendous stress. Canadians value their health care system more than any other social or government program and they do not want to see it seriously damaged.

I work part-time for the Department of Psychology at Hometown Hospital and I also have a private practice in Besidetown. I see patients on a daily basis who have to wait long periods of time to see psychologists and other health care providers and who are worried about their health and the health system. This stress puts undue worry on the backs of the most vulnerable, the very ill, the young, the aged, and the poor.

Canada has a health system that is world class. We are in danger of losing it unless action is taken quickly. I believe as do my colleagues at the Canadian Psychological Association, the Council of Provincial Associations of Psychologists and the Canadian Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology, that the proposals put forward by the Health Action Lobby are both feasible and responsible.

I would like to congratulate your Government on your decision during the last federal election to eliminate cuts to the health care system. This was an encouraging and important first step.

I urge you to support the HEAL report of November 1998 to the Standing Committee on Finance which is being forwarded to you under separate cover by the Canadian Psychological Association. I look forward to hearing your comments on this issue and greatly appreciate any support you can offer through discussions in Caucus and through your work as a parliamentarian.

Sincerely,

Name M. Surname, Ph.D.
Psychologist

Cc:  Canadian Psychological Association
Council of Provincial Associations of Psychologists
Canadian Association of School Psychologists
Canadian Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology
Council of Canadian Departments of Psychology

 


Appendix B
Table of contents

Canadian Psychological Association