Experts: Quebec City attack highlights need for discussion on mental health

Published: 3 November 2020

Quebec is hoping to reduce wait lists and widen access to help by injecting $100 million into mental health services as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues, an announcement that was pushed up following a deadly sword attack in the province’s capital that killed two and left five injured. (Global News)

Here are some experts from McGill University who can provide comment on this issue:

Martin Drapeau, Full Professor, Departments of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Psychiatry

The COVID-19 pandemic and the recent attacks in Quebec City illustrate, once again, that our health system does not adequately meet the need of Quebecers when it comes to mental health services. A significant increase in funding is needed for mental health services in our hospital system. In addition to this, Quebec should fund psychotherapy in the private sector. This would increase access to services and free up the public system who could then focus on the individuals who require multidisciplinary care.”

Martin Drapeau is a Full Professor cross-appointed to the Departments of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Psychiatry. His research is in the area of psychotherapy process and outcome, of best practices in psychology, and of knowledge translation and dissemination.

martin.drapeau [at] (English, French)

Nancy Heath, James McGill Professor, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology

"Increasing mental health services is essential. But what ARE mental health services? Absolutely we must make sure that those who need one-on-one therapy have access to it. However, many more would benefit from UNIVERSAL mental health outreach to build mental health resilience. We need to be proactive not just reactive and responding to individuals in crisis. We must not forget to help people cope with day-to-day life and must address mental health difficulties (such as stress and anxiety that interfere with quality of life but are not yet a clinical disorder) rather than wait until they meet criteria for mental illness.”

Nancy Heath is a James McGill Professor in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology. Her research program explores resilience and adaptive functioning in young people at-risk (children, adolescents, and young adults).

nancy.heath [at] (English)

Tina Montreuil, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational & Counselling Psychology

Investing in mental health resources and support is a first step in the right direction. However, as research findings suggest, in order to ensure access and efficient use of resources, there is an urgent need to educate people on the importance of prevention and early access to care as well as to normalize and destigmatize mental health services. It is also critical to inform the population on the importance of self-care to promote resilience and well-being as we continue to experience the impact of the pandemic.”

Tina Montreuil is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and an Associate Member of the Department of Psychiatry. Her research focuses on investigating the role of emotion regulation, attitudes, and beliefs on the development and intergenerational transmission of psychopathology and how symptoms of mental health problems might interfere with self-regulated learning in a group context and ultimately, educational achievement.

tina.montreuil [at] (English, French)

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