Demand for mental health service in Canada is climbing

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Dozois says there’s a “tremendous shortage” of psychologists in Canada’s public hospital system because many are leaving for better pay in the private sector. Photo: Pexels


(Bob Becken/ CBC News) — After what her family endured, Christine Hodge says she sympathizes with Canadian families who cannot access essential medications and treatments for mental illness.

The Ottawa woman’s daughter, now 21, was diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder before the pandemic began; however, it took more than two years — and a lot of advocacy — to find a psychiatrist willing to take her on.

“This diagnosis, and all that that entails, was not able to get her a psychiatrist for over two years, which would be the bedrock of her treatment,” said Hodge. “If she wasn’t able to get there for over two years, then what the heck is available to other people who are less fortunate?”

In a Statistics Canada study released in 2021, almost one in five Canadians aged 12 and older reported that they needed some help with their mental health. About 45 per cent of respondents said they felt their needs were either unmet or only partially met.

And, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, wait times in some jurisdictions for community mental health counselling are longer for children and youth up to 18 years of age, compared to adults. For all ages, the average wait time across Canada is 22 days. (…)

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