Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The struggle for more coverage: pay for my therapy you dicks!

Just took the time to look over an article in the Montreal Gazette about Quebec's National Institute for Excellence in Health and Social Science (INESSS), and their finding that provincial healthcare should cover psychotherapy.
The INESSS research team found that for people with moderate anxiety or depressive disorders, there is no significant difference between psychotherapy and drug therapy when it comes to reducing symptoms.

However, it concluded, psychotherapy's benefits are longer lasting — even after as few as five or six sessions —providing better protection from relapse.
The research spokesman, Michael Sheehan, lost a son to suicide, and relates access to psychotherapy to the implementation of vaccines:
"It's not a vaccine, but...it's as close as we can get to a vaccine... If we did have a vaccine for most common mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, don't you think we would be screaming to have access to it, and it would be scandalous if we didn't?"
The piece goes onto state that only 1 in 3 of practising psychotherapists are in the public sector, with the majority of those benefiting from talk therapy relying on private insurance or simply having the means to pay for the services themselves.

Let me remind you here that I pay 50$ bi-weekly for sliding-scale therapy. Of that, 80% is covered by my insurance, so 40$. This involves paper-work and a reimbursement process. So, I need to be able to afford paying that 50$, since my reimbursement will take a while. I'm covered for 800$ worth of services per year, so that's about 20 sessions, hence my going bi-weekly and not weekly. My former therapist, who charged me 60$ a session as a student, now charges 160$ an hour. Hence my no longer seeing her. 
Jason Gilmour's story is far too common. A resident of Danville, in Quebec's Eastern Townships, he has grappled with depression and occasional panic attacks most of his adult life. Yet for a decade, he didn't even have a family doctor, despite being told for years that he was near the top of waiting lists in the region. 
"A lot of the stuff I've done has been on my own, searching online, reading a lot of books on the subject," he said. "At a certain point, no matter how hard you're trying on your own, you still need a professional — an objective opinion to try to help you to see some issues that maybe you don't see on your own." 
"You just have to hold out hope that one day these things are going to change."
Well, head-nod to you Jason Gilmour, I hear you. Here's to hoping that the discussion of these topics in the public sphere and increased sensitization will lead to concrete change, sooner rather than later.

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