Education Support Services
Most middle schools and secondary schools have counsellors who are there to help you with any problems or issues you might be having. Your problems don’t necessarily need to be related to school. Some schools also have school nurses who are skilled at dealing with a range of health issues.
Universities and colleges will often have health services, which includes counselling for students. These are generally located in the student health centre and are free of charge.
You may want to ask a teacher or someone at your school about what’s available for you. You can also check your university or college’s website for more information on student health.
Family Doctors and Psychiatrists
Family doctors can play an important role in supporting you when you are feeling like something is just not right.
Your family doctor can help rule out other medical conditions that can sometimes cause certain behaviours or symptoms. They can also prescribe medication if they think that would be helpful for you.
Your family doctor may refer you to other specialized services, such as a pediatrician, psychiatrist or other specialized mental health services, such as community mental health clinics, hospital clinics, or hospital inpatient programs.
Don’t have a family doctor? You can visit a Foundry Centre or any Walk in Clinic, no appointment is necessary. You can also find a family doctor in your community by visiting the physician directory on the College of Physicians and Surgeons website or calling them at 1-800-461-3008.
Except for a few specialized services, visits to your family doctors are free of charge if you have a BC CareCard or have coverage from another provincial medical services plan.
While family doctors have generalized experience in mental health care, psychiatrists have specialized expertise in mental health. They are able to prescribe medications and offer psychotherapy (for example counselling). In order to see a psychiatrist, you need to get a referral from a family doctor or mental health professional.
The amount and type of counselling psychiatrists provide often depends on the psychiatrist and on the mental illness being treated. Your BC CareCard will cover the cost of your psychiatrist visits.
You can find a psychiatrist in your community by visiting the physician directory on the College of Physicians and Surgeons website or calling them at 1-800-461-3008. On the website under “Practice Type”, select “Specialist” and “Psychiatry”.
Private Counsellors and Psychologists
Private Counsellors have a Masters degree in counselling or social work and can help with a variety of issues including mental health challenges. They will work together with you to find ways to address the challenges you are facing. Through counselling you can discuss your concerns and strengthen your ability to make the changes you want in your life.
Psychologists/Registered Psychologists (RPsych) have a PhD in psychology. Similar to counsellors, they provide an opportunity to talk about and work through things that are confusing or worrying. This can help you to make positive changes in your life.
Counsellors and psychologists in your community can be found by visiting the following sites:
- The BC Association of Clinical Counsellors
- The Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association
- The BC Association of Social Workers
- The BC Psychological Association
These services are not usually covered by a BC CareCard. Extended health benefits may cover some costs for private counselling. Some counsellors/psychologists will offer a sliding scale which means the amount you are charged is based on your income.
Other places that may offer low-cost or free counselling in your community may include:
- Foundry Centres
- Clinics at universities or colleges
- Youth clinics or family services agencies