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Ontario Psychological Association Reflects on 2023: Surge in Demand for Mental Health Services Across the Province

December 14, 2023

NEWS RELEASE --


TORONTO, ON — In January 2021, the Ontario Psychological Association (OPA), a leading professional organization representing psychologists, psychological associates, and students, launched a groundbreaking digital solution powered by Strata Health with the mission of enhancing access to mental health care and facilitating personalized patient-provider matches.


After three years, the results underscore a consistent and growing demand for psychological services throughout Ontario revealing regional nuances. Unfortunately, many Ontarians without extended health benefits or financial means to afford healthcare were left underserved, emphasizing the imperative for increased funding to address this inequity.


Key Highlights:

  • As of November 30th, referral volumes surged by an impressive 27% between 2022 and 2023.
  • Seniors witnessed the most substantial percentage increase in referrals compared to the previous year.
  • A notable shift occurred as Ontarians increasingly favored in-person care over virtual options, reversing the trend observed from 2021 to 2022.
  • Southern Ontario cities, particularly Waterloo, experienced heightened demand compared to other regions.

As the New Year approaches and publicly funded pandemic response programs, offering cost-free therapy to frontline workers, draw to a close, the OPA expresses gratitude to its funders—the City of Toronto and the Ontario Government—and our primary care association partners, 211, the Canadian Red Cross, Ontario Health, mental health Hospital partners, CMHA Ontario, and the Ontario eServices program, for their collaborative efforts over the past few years. The positive impact of these partnerships has been felt by many Ontarians.


Yet, our collective work remains unfinished, with countless individuals still enduring unnecessary suffering. While addressing stigma was an essential first step, there is now a renewed sense of urgency to secure funding for mental health care, particularly for psychological assessment services for children and youth, including those with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as individuals with disabilities. Overall, Requests for psychological assessments surged by an extraordinary 224% between 2021 and 2023.


Link to Infographic: https://shorturl.at/huxV9

 

Richard Morrison, CEO of the Ontario Psychological Association indicates, "The invaluable insights gleaned from the data collected through askforhelptoday.ca are revolutionizing our association’s approach to meeting the diverse needs of our communities. This comprehensive dataset not only empowers our understanding of Ontarians' evolving psychological requirements but also enables us to guide and enhance the adaptability of the psychology workforce.


This data serves as the cornerstone of our quality enhancement initiatives, propelling our efforts to refine services and directly address the evolving demands of Ontarians. Moreover, it plays a pivotal role in shaping tailored, accredited training programs for psychologists in Ontario.


Embracing technological innovation, we are reshaping our perspectives on addressing clinical needs both provincially and nationally. This forward-thinking approach not only aids our immediate response but also equips us to effectively navigate and support any future disaster scenarios across Canada. Our readiness is fortified by these insights, ensuring a proactive and robust preparedness strategy for the entire nation."

 

Kevin Jones, Senior Vice President at Strata Health Canada, emphasizes, "Our partnership with OPA & eServices Ontario continues to demonstrate that provincial-level systems can provide crucial insights needed to drive healthcare improvements. As we collaborate with the OPA to standardize access to psychologists nationwide, we anticipate these insights will further enhance patient access to mental health services." 


For media inquiries, please contact:

 

Mr. Richard Morrison

CEO, Ontario Psychological Association

[email protected]

(905) 515-8719


 

ABOUT THE ONTARIO PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION

 

The Ontario Psychological Association (OPA) is a not-for-profit organization and the voluntary professional association representing psychology in Ontario. Its diverse membership, comprising clinicians, academics, researchers, and students, is dedicated to improving the mental health and well-being of Ontarians. The OPA provides leadership to promote mental health and well-being, inspiring excellence in the profession of psychology through research, education, clinical excellence, and advocacy.

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