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Annual losses to the Canadian economy due to mental illness in the workplace: $33 billion (S1)

Advocacy

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Advocacy is at the very heart of OPA’s mission. We advocate not just for the profession of psychology, but for improved access to high-quality mental health services for all Ontarians. The OPA is raising the profile of the profession with the public, government, the media, and other stakeholders. We’re seeing increasing demand for treatment services, and along with that, increasing numbers of positions available for psychologists and psychological associates in the public sector. This is a great time to join your colleagues in supporting the profession through your OPA membership.  The more people we have on board, the greater our momentum, and the stronger our voice becomes!

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Part of the OPA mandate is to advocate on behalf of the science & practice of the profession, and to support and enhance the interests of all psychologists in Ontario. Advocacy is raising awareness – in general and around specific issues – with various audiences: government, private sector, other allied associations, and within the profession of psychology itself. To get an idea of the range and scope of the advocacy work being done on behalf of the profession of psychology — and for the people of Ontario — look through our Issue Briefs and News Briefs.

The OPA has been working hard to earn our position as the voice of psychology and to advocate for the thousands of Ontarians who desperately need psychological interventions but cannot access any level of mental health care in a timely way. Here are some of the OPA’s key areas of advocacy:

Patient Advocacy
Psychology Aid Ontario is an OPA initiative aimed at delivering timely and equitable access to psychological interventions.
 
Professional Advocacy
The OPA is advocating for recognition of psychology as an evidence-based profession whose members should have an increased scope of practice.
 
Supporting Psychological Research
The OPA is advocating for more research funding to enable the translation of knowledge into practical applications. Such research will help keep Ontarians as mentally and physically healthy as possible; and it will position the psychological profession where it belongs in the healthcare system - right next to our medical colleagues.
 
Enhancing Academic Excellence
The OPA is advocating for more funding to support our universities to educate more students to address the unmet mental health needs of Ontarians.  We also actively support life-long learning of psychologists and psychological associates through our Annual Conference, Summits and Workshops, the development of practice guidelines and web-based resources.
 

Shining a Light on Psychology

The OPA recently launched an advocacy campaign, Shining a Light on Psychology. Here are the key components: 
 
Targeted Media Campaign – The purpose of this initiative is to create a survey getting at the heart of Ontarians’ experiences with (and knowledge of) our mental health system—particularly as it relates to psychology. With the help of public relations and research firms, the OPA will leverage survey results to create the tools and momentum to raise the profile of our members amongst the public, government and other healthcare professionals.
 
Member Directory – The OPA is developing an online searchable directory of Ontario’s psychologists and psychological associates. This robust database will be searchable by geography as well as specialty areas and levels of expertise. This initiative will be vitally important to the public and key stakeholders and a great marketing strategy and referral source for our members.
 
Psychology Aid Ontario – Building on the model of Legal Aid Ontario and our Member Directory, we would like to identify (and financially support) psychologists and psychological associates who would be willing to provide assessment and treatment for individuals who cannot afford our services.  Psychology Aid Ontario would provide access to care at a reduced cost. This program will be a major benefit for the public, and an opportunity for our members to be publically recognized for the sliding scales that you already provide in your practice.
 
Psychology Resource Centre – The OPA is building a section of the website where we can display influential psychology policy documents, research papers and dissertations, clinical and practice guidelines, patient education books, brochures, helpful websites and other practice supports tools. This Resource Centre will also be populated with webinars and information about upcoming workshops and conferences aimed at our members, students and other healthcare professionals. 
 
The OPA Centre of Excellence in Psychological Health and Safety - the OPA and our members have become recognized as provincial leaders in the assessment and treatment of PTSD amongst the military, veterans and first responders (police, firefighters, paramedics, correctional officers, 911 dispatchers) and other healthcare professionals exposed to trauma in the workplace on a daily basis. The OPA is currently providing a certificate program in workplace mental health for human resource professionals from over 22,000 businesses in Ontario. This Centre of Excellence would take our initial work in this area to new heights in the minds of the public, government, and especially individuals suffering from occupational stress disorders.
 
OPA members can read more about any of these initiatives here.

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