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Sessions with a psychologist paid for by Social Security… How does this system work?

A free shrink for all people in a situation of ill-being. From Tuesday, it will be a reality. This was the big announcement from the Head of State during the Mental Health Conference last September: to offer French people who need it psychological support. From this Tuesday, with the launch to the general public of the “MonPsy” platform, it will be possible to benefit from eight sessions with a psychologist, reimbursed by Health Insurance.

“The pandemic has revealed the importance of the subject of mental health,” said Emmanuel Macron when the device was announced. But in practice, can everyone benefit from it? Is it fully supported? 20 minutes takes stock of what this new platform offers.

What support does “MonPsy” offer?

This platform was born from an observation: “The unmet needs of the population, since the care provided by liberal psychologists is not covered by health insurance, while we know that they have made the proof of their effectiveness, recalls Frank Bellivier, ministerial delegate for mental health and psychiatry. It was therefore important to develop this measure which aims to cover these important needs of the general population”. Needs highlighted and accentuated by “the Covid-19 health crisis, he adds. This system endorses a mode of cooperation between the general practitioner and the psychologist, which is very important in the mental health journey”. In practice, the doctor gives the patient a referral letter allowing him to contact a psychologist participating in this system.

“”MonPsy” is a device for identifying, screening and taking care of psychological difficulties of mild to moderate intensity, explains Frank Bellivier. What is taken care of is on the one hand the assessment of these disorders, then seven care sessions, with at each moment of the care the possibility of referral to specialized care, from then on that seriousness indicators would be identified, either by the general practitioner or by the psychologist. »

Who can benefit from this support?

Intended for the general public, “MonPsy” is aimed at all French men and women in metropolitan and overseas territories “suffering from depressive and anxiety disorders, eating disorders, as well as people suffering from addictions (tobacco, alcohol and cannabis) without dependency criteria, ”explains the Health Insurance. Support “open to all people over the age of 3”, we specify in the office of the Minister of Health Olivier Véran.

And if it makes it possible to support any patient suffering from “mild to moderate” mental disorders, specifies the Health Insurance, in the event of “suicidal risks” or if “more severe” disorders appear, the patient must be “Oriented towards more specialized care”, adds the Ministry of Health.

This device constitutes “considerable progress for access to psychological and psychic care”, and will “concern tens, hundreds of thousands of French people”, welcomed the Minister of Health in mid-March on franceinfo.

What are the terms of this support?

The device “is broken down into eight sessions spread over a calendar year. A first assessment interview is fixed face-to-face, then the other sessions can be organized face-to-face or remotely, ”explains the National Health Insurance Fund. As for prices, “the first session is set at 40 euros, and the following are at 30 euros, without the possibility of fee overruns”. The Ministry of Health indicates that the cost calculation took into account the average duration of a session, estimated at “about 40 minutes”. However, “the duration of the session is left to the discretion of the psychologist, and no minimum duration of the session is provided for”, replies the ministry to 20 minutes.

At the end of each session, the psychologist gives the patient a care sheet, which then sends it to the Health Insurance, which in turn will reimburse 60% of the amount of the session. The remaining 40% will then be reimbursed by complementary health insurance, if the patient has mutual insurance. Otherwise, the remainder will come out of his pocket.

How many psychologists participate in this system and how much will it cost the State?

To date, “more than 1,300 practitioners have applied to register on the monpsy.sante.gouv.fr platform”, indicates the office of the Minister of Health. Applications that are processed before being validated. “Selection criteria are provided for by the system: psychologists must have at least three years of experience and a diploma or additional training in clinical psychology and psychopathology”, indicates Frank Bellivier. And for the time being, “more than 600 psychologists, spread over the whole territory, have been approved and registered in the directory of the “MonPsy” platform, and this figure will change”, specifies the office of the Minister of Health. Health, for whom “the challenge is to have the finest possible territorial coverage”.

But within the profession, the reform is not unanimous. Several rallies have recently been organized and a forum with more than 2,000 signatories published on March 29 in The world calls for a boycott of the device, described as “window dressing”. “The objective is to facilitate the management of these sessions in town”, and “the system is only based on volunteer psychologists”, we remind Olivier Véran’s office.

On the budget side, the ministry has provided an envelope of 50 million euros to finance the device during the year 2022, which corresponds to the care of 200,000 patients.

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