Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 100, Issue 2, pp 145–147 | Cite as

Integrating Psychologists into the Canadian Health Care System: The Example of Australia

  • Richard Moulding
  • Jean Grenier
  • Grant BlashkiEmail author
  • Pierre Ritchie
  • Jane Pirkis
  • Marie-Hélène Chomienne


Canada and Australia share many similarities in terms of demographics and the structure of their health systems; however, there has been a divergence in policy approaches to public funding of psychological care. Recent policy reforms in Australia have substantially increased community access to psychologists for evidence-based treatment for high prevalence disorders. In Canada, access remains limited with the vast majority of consultations occurring in the private sector, which is beyond the reach of many individuals due to cost considerations. With the recent launch of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, it is timely to reflect on the context of the current Canadian and Australian systems of psychological care. We argue that integrating psychologists into the publicly-funded primary care system in Canada would be feasible, beneficial for consumers, and cost-effective.

Key words

Mental health services psychotherapy mood disorders anxiety disorders primary health care 


En termes de démographie et de structure de leurs systèmes de santé, le Canada et l’Australie partagent de nombreuses similitudes; cependant, on note une divergence dans leur approche et leurs politiques en ce qui concerne le financement des services psychologiques. Les réformes récentes des politiques en Australie ont considérablement augmenté l’accès de la population aux psychologues pour des traitements fondés sur les preuves dans le contexte des troubles mentaux de forte prévalence. Au Canada, l’accès aux psychologues demeure limité, la grande majorité des consultations se produisant dans le secteur privé; la majeure partie de la population ne pouvant avoir accès à ces services pour des raisons économiques. Le lancement récent de la Commission de la santé mentale du Canada suggère que le moment est opportun et qu’il est pertinent de se pencher sur le contexte actuel des systèmes canadiens et australiens en ce qui concerne les soins psychologiques. Nous suggérons que d’intégrer les psychologues dans le système de soins de santé primaires au Canada est réalisable, bénéfique pour les consommateurs, et coût-efficace.

Mots clés

Services de santé mentale psychothérapie troubles de l’humeur troubles d’anxiété soins de santé primaires 


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Moulding
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jean Grenier
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Grant Blashki
    • 6
    Email author
  • Pierre Ritchie
    • 3
  • Jane Pirkis
    • 7
  • Marie-Hélène Chomienne
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Primary Care Research Unit, Department of General PracticeUniversity of MelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Swin-PsyCHE Research UnitSwinburne University of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Psychology, Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  4. 4.Montfort HospitalOttawaCanada
  5. 5.Department of Family MedicineUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  6. 6.Nossal Institute for Global HealthCarlton VictoriaAustralia
  7. 7.Centre for Health Policy, Programs and Economics, School of Population HealthUniversity of MelbourneAustralia

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