Manitoba Liberals Support Increased Access to Psychologists

Dr. Jon Gerrard (Former Leader, Liberal Party), Dr. Moira Somers (Director, Business of Practice, MPS), Ms. Rana Bokhari (Leader, Liberal Party), and Dr. Andrea Piotrowski (President, MPS).

Dr. Jon Gerrard (Former Leader, Liberal Party), Dr. Moira Somers (Director, Business of Practice, MPS), Ms. Rana Bokhari (Leader, Liberal Party), and Dr. Andrea Piotrowski (President, MPS).

The Manitoba Psychological Society (MPS) applauds the Manitoba Liberal Party for their commitment to increase access to mental health services that will include funding psychologists under Medicare and providing financial support to hire and retain more psychologists in the province. Critical priority areas identified by the party include services for children, pregnant women, and individuals with depression and PTSD, and rural and remote communities.

On November 19, Dr. Andrea Piotrowski, President of MPS, was invited to participate in a Press Conference with the Liberal Party to make the announcement at the Legislative Building. Dr. Moira Somers, Director for the Business of Practice for MPS, was also in attendance to network with the media. Media was present and the news of the Liberal platform was covered by television, radio, print, and online sites (http://goo.gl/jrKF8g). As a follow-up to the announcement, Dr. Jon Gerrard asked about access to psychologists during Question Period on November 21 (http://goo.gl/pqUR1K), Dr. Jeff Harvey, Director of Public Education for MPS, sent out a Press Release by MPS, Dr. Teresa Sztaba, Executive Director of MPS, wrote a letter to the Editor of the Winnipeg Free Press (http://goo.gl/GGojDj), and a Press Release was sent out nationally by the Canadian Psychological Association (http://goo.gl/Ce4gis).

The impact of mental illness on individuals, families, communities and the economy is clear. Psychological services are proven to be cost-effective ways in helping Manitobans maintain their mental and physical health. Unfortunately, private health care insurance plans and publicly funded programs don’t do enough to ensure Manitobans have equal and adequate access to these services. The plan introduced in the Liberal Party’s announcement will make it easier for Manitobans to receive services from a psychologist. It is encouraging that the federal government recognized the impact of mental health and mental illness in the workplace and decided to double the coverage for psychological services through the extended health benefits package available to federal employees.

MPS is delighted that the conversation to increase access to psychologists has been started and is gaining momentum. We intend to continue our work in advocating for Manitobans and psychologists in our province by meeting with all political parties and key stakeholders to discuss increased access to psychologists.

Dr. Andrea Piotrowski, C. Psych
MPS President

Access to psychologists needed

WFP Letter to the Editor: November 24, 2014

The Manitoba Liberal Party has adopted a long-needed and bold initiative by emphasizing the need for increased public access to the services of psychologists (Liberals fight for mental-health services, Nov. 20).

With rates of depression and anxiety rising dramatically, it is essential everyone has access to the most effective treatments.

Psychologists in Manitoba do not prescribe psychotropic medication — rather, psychologists work collaboratively with family physicians and psychiatrists, who prescribe these types of medications. While in some cases medications may be required, research shows treatments delivered by psychologists are at least as effective as medication for the majority of cases of depression and anxiety — without adverse side-effects and with lower relapse rates.

Psychologists are well-trained and positioned to develop prevention programs, do a thorough assessment, communicate a diagnosis and either provide treatment or refer to another health-care provider who can meet the patient’s needs.

Dr. Teresa Sztaba
Executive director, Manitoba Psychological Society

Winnipeg Free Press:  http://goo.gl/GGojDj