The aim of the Québec Psychotherapy Program for Mental Disorders (PQPTM): from Self-Care to Psychotherapy is to improve access to mental health services, in particular psychotherapy, for the population.

The PQPTM focuses mainly on the tools of self-care and psychotherapy.

Self-care refers to any action a person takes to maintain their health and well-being. In short, any action a person takes to:

  • Regain control over their mental health
  • Use positive coping strategies in their everyday life, such as adopting a healthy lifestyle
  • Find out about available resources that can help and when to use them
  • Play a proactive role in any steps to improve their quality of life and mental health

A person who practices self-care may be assisted and supported by a care provider. The care provider will ensure that self-care is practiced at the right time and in an appropriate and optimal manner.

Psychotherapy refers to the psychological treatment of a person who has:

  • A mental disorder
  • A behavioural disturbance
  • A problem that is causing psychological suffering or distress

Psychotherapy goes beyond support and counselling. It goes beyond help aimed at dealing with everyday difficulties. Psychotherapy helps a person make significant changes in their:

  • Cognitive, emotional or behavioural functioning
  • Interpersonal relations
  • Personality
  • Health


At the moment, only people aged 5 to 18 who are suffering from depression and who live in the Chaudière-Appalaches region are eligible for the PQPTM. Children under 14 years of age must, however, be accompanied by their parents or guardian.

Once it has been fully deployed in all regions of Québec, people of all ages will be eligbile for the PQPTM. It will cover all common mental disorders and psychotherapy activities.

The PQPTM is a voluntary process.


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).


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.

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 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 in a 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 under the PQPTM

Stepwise treatment

The PQPTM is based on a stepwise treatment model. This means that the clinical situation requires increasingly specialized expertise and treatment. However, depending on the person’s situation and needs, they may be exempted from “low-intensity” interventions and be able to access “high-intensity” interventions directly.

Low-intensity interventions include, for example:

  • Directed self-care
  • Support
  • Group interventions

High-intensity interventions include, for example:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication
  • Hospitalization
  • Crisis services

Intervention guide for mental disorders

In order to provide a framework for treatment, the PQPTM has developed intervention guides for the mental disorders covered. For each disorder, there are 2 complementary guides: one for professionals and one for the person who is receiving treatment and their family or friends.

The information in the guide will help anyone who is receiving mental health services to make informed decisions. The guide will be given to them by the care provider and covers topics such as:

  • The best time to see a care provider
  • How to accept or refuse a proposed treatment
  • The types of psychotherapy available
  • Possible medications
  • The length of treatment

The guide also provides details about interventions. This way, the person will know in advance, depending on his situation, what services care providers should be offering.

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

Information for family members and friends

The guide for the person who is receiving treatment also contains 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 specific mental disorder
  • 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

Pilot project

The first pilot phase of the PQPTM took place in the Alphonse-Desjardins local services network in the Chaudière-Appalaches region. The Program was intended for children and teenagers suffering from depression.

During the pilot phase, the achievement of the PQPTM’s objectives have been evaluated on an ongoing basis. The PQPTM will be adapted as needed based on outcomes. In the future, the Program will be implemented in all institutions in Québec that offer mental health care.