(L-R): CAMH psychologists Dr. Lisa Couperthwaite and Dr. Donna Ferguson, Dr. Jonathan Douglas, President of the Ontario Psychological Association (OPA) and CAMH psychologist Dr. Niki Fitzgerald attend the CAMH-OPA event at Queen’s Park.
April 19, 2016 - “Wherever there is suffering, there should be access to psychologists,” said Dr. Jonathan Douglas, President of the Ontario Psychological Association (OPA) as he welcomed guests to a CAMH-OPA hosted event at Queen’s Park on April 13.
Dr. Douglas highlighted the breadth of psychological work but pointed out that “there is more that psychology can be doing. We are keenly aware of the two-tiered system of access to care…Psychologists have the skills and willingness to help the impoverished and vulnerable,” he said.
Improving access to evidence-based psychological care was an overarching theme of the evening and one that attracted several MPPs and Ministers to the event. Currently, in the majority of cases, psychological care is not publicly funded and many Canadians require private insurance or even pay out of pocket – as much as $200 per hour in the private system. This has resulted in a two tiered system where those who can afford it get care and those who cannot are relegated to long wait lists.
CAMH President and CEO Dr. Catherine Zahn acknowledged the crucial role of psychologists in the mental health system and urged clinicians and politicians alike to keep the momentum going on health equity. “In the world of mental health we have finally started to achieve momentum…but we need acceleration, an infusion of energy, not a rearranging of the deck chairs,” she said.
Dr. Catherine Zahn, CAMH President and CEO, attended the OPA-CAMH event (left CAMH’s Dr. Kwame McKenzie and Dr. Sylvain Roy).
Indira Naidoo-Harris, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and MPP for Halton thanked psychologists for their work and continued advocacy. “Part of our job [as elected officials] is to help Ontarians live healthier more fulfilling lives,” she said. “Our government and Ontarians are fortunate to have partners like you; with your guidance we can make meaningful policy decisions.”
(L-R back row): Dr. Jane Storrie; Dr. Sean Kidd, Psychologist-in-Chief at CAMH; Dr. Johnathan Douglas, President of OPA. (L-R front row): MPP Indira Naidoo-Harris; Dr. Sylvain Roy, psychologist at CAMH and President-elect of OPA; Jan Kasperski, CEO of OPA; Dr. Catherine Zahn, CAMH President and CEO.
Support on social media
MPPs and guests showed support on social media with great response from followers:
Honouring leaders and change-makers
A portion of the evening was dedicated to honouring the contributions of people who have been fighting obstacles to health equity and driving system change. Susan Pigott, Chair of Ontario's
Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council and former VP
of Communications at CAMH received the Mental Health Award of Excellence from
CAMH and the OPA. Public Service Awards were presented to Kevin Flynn, MPP for Oakville and
Minister of Labour and to France
Gélinas MPP for Nickel Belt.