Lower income brackets more heavily affected, according to new EKOS
OTTAWA, Sept. 26, 2011 /CNW/ - Canadians, in particular those in lower
and middle income levels, face significant barriers when it comes to
the cost of psychological services in Canada, according to the findings
of a new EKOS poll conducted on behalf of Canadian Psychological
"This survey should serve as a wake-up call to Canada's governments and
employers that they must do more to ensure all Canadians - regardless
of income - can access the psychological care they need," said Dr
Andrea Piotrowski, Chair of the Practice Directorate of the Canadian
Psychological Association. "The impact of mental illness on
individuals, families, communities and the economy is clear.
Psychological services are proven to be a cost-effective way to improve
people's mental health and allow them to participate fully in their
family life, work and community. Unfortunately, people in lower and
middle income brackets face particularly significant barriers when it
comes to the cost of psychological services in this country."
To highlight the findings of the survey and spark a call to action,
national, provincial and territorial psychological associations have
come together to reach out to consumer groups, health professionals and
governments in order to highlight the problem of access to
psychological care and find solutions. In provinces where provincial
general elections are being held this fall, the associations have also
written to party leaders asking them to state their positions on
funding of psychological services through provincial public health
"Psychological services are proven effective in helping Canadians to
maintain their mental health and to deal with both mental and physical
disorders," added Dr Karen Cohen, Executive Director of the Canadian
Psychological Association. "Canada's private health care insurance
plans and publicly funded programs don't do enough to ensure Canadians
have equal and adequate access to these valuable services."
Key findings from the survey were:
Eighty percent of all respondents to the survey indicated that if they
had to pay for psychological services themselves, costs would represent
a "very significant" or "significant" barrier.
Similarly, 77% indicated that lack of coverage by provincial or
territorial health plans would present an equally significant barrier.
In addition, 67% of respondents indicated that lack of coverage in
employee health plans would represent a significant or very significant
When cross-tabulated by income bracket, the same data reveal that costs
are much more likely to represent a significant or very significant
barrier for those in lower income brackets.
Fully 86% of respondents whose family income is lower than $40,000 felt
that having to pay for psychological services would present a
significant or very significant barrier.
Similarly, 80% of those in the lower income bracket felt that
psychological services not being covered by their provincial health
plans would be a significant or very significant barrier.
In keeping with these findings, support for the coverage of
psychological services by public health plans was very strong across
Canada. Eighty-five percent of Canadians stated that ensuring
psychological services are covered by public health plans is either
very important or important.
"Canada's provincial, territorial and national psychological
associations are working together to promote equitable and timely
access to psychological services for all Canadians," added Dr
Piotrowski. "This survey clearly shows that action is needed to bring
down the barriers that Canadians face every day to psychological care
Presentations of more complete results of the poll are available at the
Canadian Psychological Association's website (www.cpa.ca) including provincial and territorial breakdowns.
SOURCE Canadian Psychological Association
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