Finding a psychologist: it was hard before, it is even harder now

By Marianne Lassonde, Special to The Record
Finding a psychologist: it was hard before, it is even harder now
(Photo : Courtesy)

According to psychologists, the province should expect a wave of burnouts and increases in psychological distress once the pandemic simmers down. For some, however, their mental health took a hit long before the government encouraged everyone to stay home.
Serena Couturier has been on the hunt for a psychologist for a little under a decade. The young woman said she has gone through school health clinics, planned parenthood and even the emergency room to help deal with her undiagnosed anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, without a family doctor, her resources were slim.
“It has been an ongoing process for years,” said Couturier. “You cannot get [a psychologist] unless you get a referral and I don’t have a family doctor. It’s a broken cycle.”
When she initially signed up for a family doctor, Couturier was told to expect a delay of around 780 days before she could be linked to a doctor. Two years later, Couturier is still sitting on a waiting list. She admitted she has since given up on a search.
“I know that I have mental health problems and I know I need to find someone, but I’m so used to being ignored or being told no that I’m kind of done,” said Couturier.
Approximately eight years ago, the 24-year-old experienced her first panic attack. Couturier said she had locked herself in her Champlain Regional College dorm room for almost a week and rarely left her bed.
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