We asked CSCM’s Kevin Kristjanson to share with us about Psychology Month. He’ll be back with a new blog every week this February, to help us better understand psychology and mental health.
February is psychology month
Psychology Month is celebrated every February to highlight the contributions of Canadian psychologists and to show Canadians how psychology works to help – people live healthy and happy lives, their communities flourish, their employers create better workplaces, and their governments develop effective policies.
To kick us off, here are a few frequently asked questions about the practice of psychology:
Q: What is psychology?
A: Psychology is the study of the brain and its functions, including thoughts, emotions, behaviours, and physiology, in a given context.
Q: What does a psychologist do?
A: A psychologist can diagnose and treat mental health disorders, like depression and anxiety. They work with you to establish your goals and develop the skills and resilience to handle the challenges life throws at you.
Many psychologists also engage in research, teaching, or community outreach and advocacy.
Q: How does somebody become a psychologist in Canada?
A: The training required to become a psychologist varies across jurisdictions, but in all cases it includes completing either a Master’s or Doctoral degree and years of supervised clinical practice. There are also competency, ethics, and jurisprudence exams that must be completed. For many psychologists, this means 10-12 (or more!) years of training and supervision before becoming licensed to practice independently. In Manitoba, the profession of psychology is governed by the Psychological Association of Manitoba (link: https://www.cpmb.ca/).
Q: How do psychologists impact society?
A: Data from the Canadian Mental Health Association suggest that poor mental health costs Canadians at least $50 billion per year in direct health care, lost productivity, and lost quality of life. This does not include increased demand for social assistance programs, reduced tax revenue due to unemployment, or caregiver costs. Every $1 spent on mental health care returns an estimated $4-10 to the economy.
Psychologists also regularly consult with federal and provincial governments on public policy concerns. Psychologists provide scientific data and evidence to inform decision-making on a wide range of issues such as health care, education, housing, criminal justice, and many more.
Psychologists are highly trained health care professionals who not only assess and treat mental health challenges but also play an important role in shaping the way our communities function.
Next week: Understanding Your Mental Health