The Nova Scotia College of Family Physicians was very pleased to learn that the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness passed an Act in November, 2008, and proclaimed it effective 11 October, 2011, respecting the titles of Registered Counselling Therapists, Therapist Candidates, and Counselling Therapists.
The College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Canadian Psychiatric Association released a position paper in 2011 “The Evolution of Collaborative Mental Health Care in Canada: A Shared Vision For the Future”. The paper clearly acknowledges that effective collaboration, concepts, and activities are applicable to any health professional with specialized services in mental health care.
The position paper cited that there is convincing evidence from Canadian projects and from the international literature, including a 2006 review by Bland and Craven as to the benefits of collaborative partnerships, in both the shorter and longer terms. This has been measured by symptom improvement, functional improvement, reduced disability days, increased workplace tenure, increased quality-adjusted life years, and increased compliance with medication.
There is also evidence that early intervention and access to mental health services are cost-effective and can lead to reductions in costs owing to a more efficient use of medications, reduced use of other medical services (especially for people with chronic medical conditions), more efficient use of existing resources, and a greater likelihood of return to the workplace. Concurrently, the literature has identified the need for initial investment in these new services, if savings are to be achieved over the long term.
The Nova Scotia College of Family Physicians supports the Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapists in any effort to have their services made more available to patients including becoming approved providers by Insurance Companies. This would provide additional choices and more timely access for patients which would ultimately result in improvement of health and quality of life for the patient, an overall healthier society, less time lost from work and increased, productivity.
In conclusion, the College of Family Physicians of Nova Scotia will be involved at many levels and with many different stakeholders over the next two years working toward a more collaborative model of mental health care in Nova Scotia that includes the Provincial Government and other health care authorities. It would be timely and honourable for Insurance Companies to become part of the team and part of the solution.
Cathie W. Carroll
NSCFP Executive Director