Originally published in Benefits Canada Magazine, on December 14, 2018 by Ryan Murphy
Two-thirds of Canadians have access to an employer-sponsored health plan, compared to one-in-five Australians and one-in-10 Britons, according to one speaker at Benefits Canada’s 2018 Mental Health Summit Toronto on Nov. 12.
Research also found, when looking at publicly funded therapy programs in Australia and England, the goal was to increase access and bridge the gap in care, said Claire Duboc, managing director at CBT Associates and BEACON. “In Canada, we too have an access problem, which isn’t going to be solved soon. Worldwide, it’s recognized that mental health represented up to 23 per cent of the disease burden, but it receives a much smaller portion of health funding.”
Also speaking during the session, Peter Farvolden, clinical lead at CBT Associates and BEACON, said Canada is similar to Australia in its challenges in delivering mental-health services due to geography and population distribution. He noted Australia launched its Better Access Initiative in 2006 to bulk bill medicare for psychotherapy, covering up to 10 traditional face-to-face therapy sessions or video visits. It received great uptake, with the program accessed by more than one million Australians each year.
“What they also learned is you can only get so far by expanding access to traditional face-to-face psychotherapy services,” said Farvolden. “They didn’t overcome many barriers to access."