The Québec Program for Mental Disorders: from Self-Care to Psychotherapy (PQPTM) is part of an integrated vision of access to mental health services in Québec, including a stepped-care model of organization of care.

The PQPTM relies on a range of services, including self-care, groups, professionnel support interventions or psychotherapy. It allows anyone in need of support to access specific mental health services offered by a multidisciplinary team.

Self-care is easily accessible and is recognized as effective when provided at the right time, in an appropriate and optimal manner. It refers to strategies that aim to improve the person's knowledge, tools and skills in order to cope with difficulties and take a proactive role in improving their quality of life and mental health. It may include:

  • information on the symptoms or disorder;
  • suggestions for activities;
  • lifestyle recommendations.

A person who practices self-care will be accompanied and supported by a care provider, as required.

Psychotherapy refers to the psychological treatment of a person. According to the Ordre des psychologues du Québec, psychotherapy aims to help a person change their attitudes, behaviour or ways of thinking or reacting so that they feel better, are able to find answers to their questions, solve problems, make choices or understand themselves better.

In Québec, a permit is required to practice psychotherapy.

In addition to self-care and psychotherapy, the PQPTM provides a framework for services offered to people with common mental health disorders. Some of these services could meet your needs:

  • Accompaniment and support
  • Professionnel support interventions
  • Couple and family interventions
  • Psychoeducation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical follow-up
  • Coaching


The PQPTM is intended for adults, children and teenagers who have symptoms of the most common mental disorders, such as anxiety or depression. Ultimately, once the PQPTM has been deployed in all regions of Québec, people who wish to receive mental health services will be eligible for the program.


Once it has been deployed in all regions, the PQPTM will be available free of charge to all Québec citizens who are covered by Québec’s public health insurance plan (RAMQ) and who will receive services in the health and social services network.


1. Ask for help

To find out about your situation and determine whether or not PQPTM services are appropriate for you, the first step is to ask for help. To find out the regions where PQPTM is gradually deployed, see Deployment.

If you or a family member or friend are in distress or have signs and symptoms similar to those of a mental disorder, ask for help:

  • Go to the reception at your Local Community Services Centres (CLSC)
  • Call Info-Social 811
  • Go to your family medicine group (FMG) or see your doctor
  • See a care provider at a community organization, such as a crisis centre
  • Contact a care provider you have seen before, where applicable
  • Contact a health worker at your primary or secondary school, university or vocational training centre, if you are a student
  • Go to a hospital emergency room if the situation is serious and requires immediate attention

To find the contact information for a resource near you, go to the Finding a resource section.

2. Assessment of the situation

The care provider will assess your situation. At the first appointment, he will ask you questions about:

  • Your situation and how often it happens
  • Your lifestyle
  • Your family and social network
  • What you do (work, study, etc.)
  • Your health
  • Your living conditions

These questions will help him understand what is wrong, what you have gone through or are going through at the moment so that he can determine what is stopping you from functioning normally.

When he has completed his assessment, the care provider will refer you to services offered under the PQPTM or, where applicable, to other services that will meet your needs, to help you get better.

3. Treatment and services offered

Stepped-care model

The PQPTM and mental health services are based on a stepped-care model of service delivery. This refers to an approach to the organization of care where people receive the least intrusive, most effective intervention first. The care provider monitors treatment results and may decide to increase or decrease the intensity of the treatment or to change treatment.

Depending on your needs, you may be offered different treatments to help you. The care provider will offer you the treatments that would be most accessible and effective for you.

Treatments include, for example:

  • Facilitated self-care
  • Support
  • Psychoeducation
  • Groups
  • Family interventions
  • Individual interventions using cognitive behavioural therapy techniques
  • Psychotherapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Medication
  • Treatments provided in hospitalization units

Clinical practice guides and information for the person consulting and their family and friends

In order to provide a framework for services, the PQPTM diffuse clinical practice guides for the common mental health disorders covered. For each disorder, there are 2 complementary tools: one for care providers and one for the person who is receiving treatment and their family or friends.

The information in the tool will help the person who is consulting for mental health services to make informed decisions. This tool covers topics such as:

  • The best time to see care providers
  • The possibility of accepting or refusing a proposed treatment
  • The different treatments available
  • Possible medications
  • The length of treatment

They also provide details about the range of services. This way, the person will know in advance, depending on their situation, what services care providers should be offering so that they can make an informed choice from among the services available to them.

The tools make recommendations and are not a substitute for a professional’s clinical judgement.

Information for family members and friends

The tools for the person who is receiving treatment also contain information for his family members and friends, such as:

  • A list of support groups
  • Respite and ad hoc assistance measures to prevent exhaustion
  • Information about the common mental health disorder concerned
  • Advice on how to help ensure the person’s successful treatment and recovery, for example:
    • By developing helpful attitudes
    • By learning to say what they think in a positive way
    • By encouraging the person to consult or to continue treatment


Starting in the fall of 2020, all public health and social services institutions in Québec will gradually offer the services provided for in the PQPTM.