Swiss government rolls out plan for better mental care

The Swiss Federal Council's new project outlines measures to deliver quicker treatment to people needing urgent psychiatric care.

Swiss government rolls out plan for better mental care
A demonstration in Geneva last week to destigmatize mental health. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The proposed measures include faster access to psychotherapeutic treatment in crisis situations and wider availability of qualified therapists licensed by the canton.

The government also stipulated that the services provided by psychologists trained in psychotherapy must be reimbursed by the basic health insurance, but only if they are prescribed by a doctor.

Currently only psychiatrists are covered by insurance, but not psychologists. 

According to the Swiss Federation of Psychologists, nearly half of the country's population needs psychiatric support at least once in their life. However, access to outpatient psychotherapy is often fraught with obstacles, such as long wait times which, in some cases, can delay treatment by several weeks.

Various studies conducted in the past several years also indicate that many Swiss residents suffer from work-related mental disorders. For instance, 27.1 percent of Swiss workers complain of stress and about 30 percent feel “emotionally burned out” in their jobs.

And Swiss Health Observatory reported that at least 200,000 people (in a population of 8.5 million) admit having tried to commit suicide once during their lifetime.

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