Association wants psychologists in family doctor practices in BC

Psychologists push access

The British Columbia Psychological Association is trying to put a psychologist in B.C. doctor's offices.

The BCPA recently submitted a proposal called the Primary Care Psychologist Program that would place psychologists in family doctors’ offices, giving British Columbians access to mental and behavioural healthcare.

The group says the proposal would utilize UBCO's clinical psychology program.

"Health authorities would work in partnership with UBCO to hire, train, and embed 20 full-time psychologists within doctor's offices in the primary care networks in our province. The cost of this would be $27M over 3 years."

The psychologists would provide brief assessments and treatments for mental health concerns like depression anxiety, and behavioural health concerns, like having trouble with weight, diet, or smoking.

"Right now, we are in a pandemic, an opioid crisis, and a climate crisis; all of which change the way we think, act, and feel. We also live in a province that does not provide free mental or behavioural health services to the vast majority of its population, leaving people to either pay out of pocket or not receive services at all. It’s time for things to change. If you believe that this proposal is important, please join us in our letter campaign."

The goal of the program would be for patients to visit their family doctors and also be able to see a trained psychologist who can help with concerns.

"Whether you are struggling with a chronic illness like diabetes or hypertension, experiencing pain or problems with sleep, or whether you have concerns about your child’s development–a psychologist can help," states the BCPA website.

The program concept is based on two decades of research demonstrating the effectiveness and cost-savings of having psychologists working side-by-side with family doctors.

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