The Quebec Regrouping of Community Psychotherapy Organizations (RQOCP) is calling for recurring financial assistance from Quebec. Its members are welcoming more and more patients referred by the health network, he says, without benefiting from additional financial support.
“Not only are our waiting lists full, but the majority of clients who are on our waiting lists are clients who are referred by the public network,” says Richard Lavoie, secretary at RQOCP. We are dealing with a clientele that the public does not want to take, but we have no funding to increase this service. “
The ten community organizations of the RQOCP, located in the regions of Montreal, Laval, the Basses-Laurentides and the Outaouais, believe that they have been largely overlooked by Quebec’s catch-up program to improve access to mental health services. According to the grouping, a minority of its members have received emergency government assistance to upgrade their services during the pandemic.
The lack of government assistance is a recurring problem, deplores Richard Lavoie, who heads the Service populaire de psychotherapy, located in Laval. “Seven [de nos dix] organizations do not receive anything from the PSOC [Programme de soutien aux organismes communautaires] nor any other government envelope, ”he explains.
Among the three receiving funding, only one “receives enough from the PSOC to adequately pay its psychotherapists,” says Richard Lavoie. “But this organization does group psychotherapy. It is probably for this reason that the PSOC finances it entirely, ”he thinks.
Famille Nouvelle, an organization offering individual therapies at reduced prices, does not benefit from state aid. To survive, the center must rely on foundations, private donors and therapists who “have a bit of a sense of missionary work”, explains its president Pauline Houle.
“They volunteer on a mini-package,” she remarks. Psychotherapists, social workers and sexologists who follow Famille Nouvelle clients receive between $ 35 and $ 45 per session, up to a maximum of $ 60.
Pauline Houle believes that if her organization obtained financial assistance from the government, it could offer better compensation to its professionals and take on more clients. The organization provides follow-up to approximately 300 to 500 people per year. “The therapists I have right now, I did my own survey, I could easily volunteer 40 more hours a week as long as they are paid well. “
The RQOCP militates in favor of recurring financial support from Quebec. Its members want to reduce their own waiting list before helping to reduce those of the public. In mid-May, nearly 20,000 people were waiting for mental health services in the network, according to the Department of Health and Social Services.
At the People’s Psychotherapy Service, the waiting list stops at 35 people. “It’s always full,” says Richard Lavoie. We don’t do any advertising. “
At the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS), it is indicated that the RQOCP submitted an application for PSOC eligibility for the year 2020-2021, but that this was refused, the organization not having “Not been able to demonstrate its national reach”. “In fact, its nine members are concentrated in the greater metropolitan area,” specifies the MSSS in an email.
The MSSS adds that “given that the PSOC is regionalized, it is up to each establishment (CISSS and CIUSSS) to apply the rules of the PSOC national management framework, taking into account the specific needs of the regional population and the demands of community organizations that work in health and social services in their territory ”.
The ministry concludes by stressing that “community organizations remain essential partners and their offer of complementary services” to those of the network.
For Martin, they have become essential. The 54-year-old man, who prefers not to say his last name, has been followed by the People’s Psychotherapy Service for several years. He experiences episodes of depression periodically, every six months or so. “When I started doing business with them, I had no income, I was in school,” he says. They charged me $ 15 per session. It was really appreciated. “
Martin has since found a job. At the moment, he is doing well. But he continues psychotherapy. “They are now charging me $ 75,” he says. His psychotherapist, with whom he has established a bond of trust, always accompanies him in thought. “It’s saving,” he emphasizes.