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Putting psychological services coverage under our public health system is a game changer for the treatment of mental health issues in Manitoba


This morning Dougald Lamont announced that Manitoba Liberals will make a major effort to improve mental health care in our province.   We will put psychological therapies under our public medicare system.   This will make a dramatic difference in the access Manitobans will have to mental health care.  It is a game changer in this respect.  It makes social and economic sense as improved access to mental health therapy will be a major step forward in improving Manitoban's mental and physical well-being, and it will save a lot of future costs as various studies have shown.  The announcement is below:  

Manitoba Liberals Make Mental Health Care a Priority

WINNIPEG – A Manitoba Liberal Government will cover clinical psychological therapy and invest in training mental health professionals in order to provide better mental health care for all Manitobans, says Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont.
“As some have put it, we have a two-tier mental health care system in Canada  where people with private insurance get treatment but people who can’t afford it often do without,” said Lamont. “Mental health care is health care, and everyone should have access to it.”
Lamont said he has heard from many families who have struggled to get their children into therapy because they don’t have insurance and waiting lists for public mental health care can take months. Even those with private insurance have to cover cost overruns.
Manitoba Liberals will:
1)     Cover the costs of psychological assessments and treatments for children with learning and behavioural disabilities under Medicare. Currently, waiting lists for assessment are up to two or three years in places in Manitoba.
2)     Ensure that approved clinical psychology and therapies are covered under Medicare.
3)     Implement Improved Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT), a training and mental health delivery program, based on UK models, to ensure that mental health services and counselling are available province-wide.
4)     Work with universities and colleges to increase the number of fully licensed psychologists in Manitoba.
Under the NDP and PCs alike, Manitoba spends less on mental health care than the national average. Across Canada, 7% of health care budgets are dedicated to health care. In Manitoba it is only 5%.
In 2018, Manitoba had 19 psychologists per 100,000 people  less than half the national figure of 49 per 100,000. For months, the Pallister government delayed signing a new federal health care funding agreement that offered $400-million, including funds earmarked for mental health care.
There is a major need for psychological therapies in Manitoba with twenty-three percent of adult Manitobans having a mood or anxiety disorder. The costs of depression and anxiety to Manitoba are estimated to be $2.8 billion a year, with an estimated net benefit to our provincial economy from the widespread availability of effective treatments being estimated at $1.8 billion a year to Manitoba.
Liberals estimated the cost IAPT that could treat 10,000 adults a year would cost $7-million in the fourth year and psychological counselling would be $15-million.
“There is plenty of evidence that these investments in mental health care pay off because people are able to get back to work. It also prevents a downward spiral that keeps people out of crisis and the ER,” said Lamont.  “It’s also important to give people hope that things can better  but we need to ensure that help is there when people need it.”



Manitoba Liberals Make Mental Health Care a Priority
WINNIPEG – A Manitoba Liberal Government will cover clinical psychological therapy and invest in training mental health professionals in order to provide better mental health care for all Manitobans, says Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont.
“As some have put it, we have a two-tier mental health care system in Canada  where people with private insurance get treatment but people who can’t afford it often do without,” said Lamont. “Mental health care is health care, and everyone should have access to it.”
Lamont said he has heard from many families who have struggled to get their children into therapy because they don’t have insurance and waiting lists for public mental health care can take months. Even those with private insurance have to cover cost overruns.
Manitoba Liberals will:
1)     Cover the costs of psychological assessments and treatments for children with learning and behavioural disabilities under Medicare. Currently, waiting lists for assessment are up to two or three years in places in Manitoba.
2)     Ensure that approved clinical psychology and therapies are covered under Medicare.
3)     Implement Improved Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT), a training and mental health delivery program, based on UK models, to ensure that mental health services and counselling are available province-wide.
4)     Work with universities and colleges to increase the number of fully licensed psychologists in Manitoba.
Under the NDP and PCs alike, Manitoba spends less on mental health care than the national average. Across Canada, 7% of health care budgets are dedicated to health care. In Manitoba it is only 5%.
In 2018, Manitoba had 19 psychologists per 100,000 people  less than half the national figure of 49 per 100,000. For months, the Pallister government delayed signing a new federal health care funding agreement that offered $400-million, including funds earmarked for mental health care.
There is a major need for psychological therapies in Manitoba with twenty-three percent of adult Manitobans having a mood or anxiety disorder. The costs of depression and anxiety to Manitoba are estimated to be $2.8 billion a year, with an estimated net benefit to our provincial economy from the widespread availability of effective treatments being estimated at $1.8 billion a year to Manitoba.
Liberals estimated the cost IAPT that could treat 10,000 adults a year would cost $7-million in the fourth year and psychological counselling would be $15-million.
“There is plenty of evidence that these investments in mental health care pay off because people are able to get back to work. It also prevents a downward spiral that keeps people out of crisis and the ER,” said Lamont.  “It’s also important to give people hope that things can better  but we need to ensure that help is there when people need it.”


A full description of the IAPT program in England can be found at this link https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5942544/

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