SASKATOON -- Susan Derry says the COVID-19 pandemic has affected her clients in some way.

Derry, a registered therapeutic counsellor with Bridge Counseling, also says the cost of psychological services can be a barrier to people, even those who have benefits.

“It’s the therapeutic bond between the counsellor and the client, so the more that people are free to choose who they see, the better in my opinion.”

A survey by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) found that close to eight in 10 Saskatchewan respondents say the cost of psychological services is a very significant or somewhat significant barrier to accessing them.

Seven in 10 Saskatchewan respondents also say the wait times to see a psychologist being too long is a very significant or somewhat significant barrier to them deciding whether they should access one.

Nanos Research conducted a representative online survey of 3,070 Canadians, drawn from a non-probability panel between Sept. 25 and Oct. 2.

According to CPA, almost nine out of 10 Canadians support or somewhat support improving access to psychologists through the publicly-funded health care system.

For those seeking mental health help there are other options.

“I think that social workers with their education and experience and different training makes them every skilled and able to meet clients where their at,” said Aspire Too clinical counsellor Laura Hicks.

“We are accepting new clients for evening and weekend sessions our fees are less than psychologist.”

Saskatchewan NDP health critic Vicki Mowat said it's concerning when cost is a barrier to seeing a psychologist.

“We believe that the government should be doing so much better to providing access to mental healthcare. Which we know, mental healthcare is healthcare, full stop. Those services should be available.”