QS wants to end mental health waiting lists

Québec Solidaire (QS) would immediately hire nearly 2,000 professionals on the public network to put an end to “appalling” mental health waiting lists when it took power next October.

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This first electoral commitment by QS was announced on Saturday afternoon during the presentation of candidate Mélissa Généreux at the Saint-François stables.

“The pandemic is having an earthquake-like mental health impact and waiting lists for the public are growing […] We need an emergency plan,” the party’s parliamentary group leader, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, said in an interview The newspaper.

The Order of Psychologists of Quebec reported in 2019 that its 8,700 members accounted for half of all psychologists in Canada and that Quebec had the highest per capita ratio in North America.

However, almost 20,000 Quebecers are currently waiting to see a specialist, emphasizes Mr. Nadeau-Dubois. The problem, he says, is the desertion of practitioners from the public to the private sector.

salary bonus

A unified government would invest a historic $280 million to repatriate 900 psychologists to the public, specifically through an “immediate” 30% increase in their salaries.

The QS plan also includes hiring 1,000 more mental health professionals – social workers, psychoeducators, sex therapists, etc.

We also want to give them more professional autonomy so that the public network becomes more attractive.

“[Ce serait] a historic investment because we are going through a historic crisis. We will not rebuild our mental health as a society with half measures and haywire programs,” says Quebec Solidaire’s spokesman.

This haywire program that Mr Nadeau-Dubois is talking about is that of the Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Lionel Carmant.

An unbearable wait

In November 2020, the latter announced an investment of $100 million that would “significantly reduce, if not eliminate” the waiting list of around 16,000 names at the time.

A year and a half later, more or less 19,000 people are now waiting for psychiatric services.

A situation that could have had serious consequences for many Quebecers, like Daniel Fortin, who lost his son in an accident on the Dufferin-Montmorency highway on September 2nd.

The bereaved had to make fifty applications and wait seven long months before finally seeing a specialist when he had suicidal thoughts.

“We need a government that takes mental health seriously. I think we made it,” concludes Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.

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