Accessing Mental Healthcare in France


Essential Reading

Accessing Mental Healthcare in France

After the recent worldwide pandemic, the importance of mental healthcare has been brought into the spotlight both in France and around the world. Whether you need treatment for anxiety or depression, support coping with trauma or other issues, or simply wish to talk with a therapist – there are options available in France. Here’s what you need to know about accessing mental healthcare in France.

What mental healthcare services are available in France?

Finding mental healthcare services can be tricky in France, especially as a foreigner, but there are increasingly more options available, especially in larger cities. Medical Psychological Centres (centre medico psychologique – CMP), are available at many hospitals throughout France and provide access to psychiatrists and psychologists (psychiatre,psychologue, or “un psy” in French). Note that psychologists are not considered doctors in France and cannot prescribe medication.

The best place to start is by consulting your Medecin Traitant (GP). You could also search for English-speaking practitioners on Doctolib. For local services and counsellors, your local Mairie is also a good port-of-call. For urgent care and emergencies, you can also go directly to the Urgences at your nearest hospital.

Costs of mental healthcare in France

From 2022, it is possible for those with a Carte Vitale to be fully or partially reimbursed for psychological consultations and psychiatric treatments if recommended by your doctor. You can make an appointment to see your Medecin Traitant for a letter of referral.

Typically a consultation with a psychiatrist or psychologist costs around €50 in France, and the state will reimburse up to €40 depending upon the ‘package’ and the recommendations of your doctor. If the doctor is ‘Conventionne secteur 1’ you are likely to receive the highest level of reimbursement; for private therapists, it will depend on their status. It’s also a good idea to talk with your mutuelle health insurer to find out if your policy covers mental healthcare services.

Find out more about the state coverage for mental health services here.

Finding an English-speaking therapist in France

Therapy or counselling in France is generally not as common or widespread as it has become in the United States, the UK, and many other anglophone countries, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to find a therapist in France. However, you should be aware that “therapy” is not a regulated profession in France, so it’s a good idea to research the qualifications of your therapist yourself or to ask for personal recommendations from friends, your local Mairie, or other expats.

The Paris Psychology Centre is a good place to start and provides online therapy sessions with qualified native English-speaking clinical psychologists around France. Another option is to look for therapists in your home country – many now offer consultations online or via phone.

Everything You Need to Know About Healthcare in France

From understanding the French state healthcare system and visiting a doctor to choosing a mutuelle insurance and dealing with your and your family’s health concerns—FrenchEntrée is here to help. Follow our Essential Reading articles for everything you need to know about healthcare in France.

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Carol, a teacher from Hurworth in Darlington, lives in Charente in South-West France, where she runs La Grue Gites with her family.

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