Recognizing a mental health and/or substance use disorder in its early stages and seeking professional help as soon as possible is the best way to prevent symptoms from getting worse. Many disorders are highly treatable, and by identifying the signs of challenges early, you can get on a path to a full and successful recovery. It is important to remember that you are not alone – there are many resources and supports available, both online and in your community, to help you with this journey.
Finding help for a mental health or substance use challenge is an important step in discovering your path to mental health and well-being. Help can be provided by a range of professionals, including your family physician, counsellors, psychiatrists, and mental health and substance use teams (check out Here to Help for more information).
When you notice changes in behaviour, mood, school performance, personal hygiene and / or social relationships of your child that are unusual or disruptive, not age-appropriate, or more dramatic than their peers, continues for longer than usual, or if your child no longer seems to participate in or enjoy things they once did, then it is important to seek help.
As a parent / caregiver, you may be frightened or overwhelmed, but it is important to remember that although it may not always be easy, most mental health challenges are treatable through a combination of therapy and medication.
To learn more about different mental health and/or substance use concerns, as well as options for support and treatment, visit Kelty Mental Health or call the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre at 604-875-2084 or toll free at 1-800-665-1822.
We encourage those struggling with symptoms to talk to their friends and family members. If you know someone who is experiencing challenges, don't hesitate to let them know that you care about them, and there are ways to get help. Let someone know if you think a friend or family member has symptoms of a mental health or substance use challenge. The more your family member or friend realizes how many people care about them, the more likely it is that they will seek treatment.
Ask your mental health and/or substance use care provider about the supports that are available to you while you wait, and how to get immediate assistance if you experience a crisis or an emergency.
Most importantly, talk to your mental health and/or substance use service provider about your concerns and available options. It can help to bring together key people as a team to develop a care plan and ensure all of your concerns are addressed. Many community mental health programs have a formal or informal process to bring these people together to meet with you and help you find solutions. Your local mental health program or school should be able to arrange such a meeting. Here are some of the people who can help:
- Social worker – can assist in coordinating services like in-home supports
- Mental health and/or substance use clinician / therapist
- Community team leader for mental health and/or substance use
- Child / youth care worker
- Student support services
- Community services manager
Make a list or have someone help you to identify what your needs are before requesting a meeting. You may also want to bring a friend or support person to that meeting.
Admission to BC's provincial specialized mental health and substance use programs is by physician referral only. As part of the Provincial Health Services Authority, the programs that make up BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services serve individuals and families across the province. Referrals come from many different facilities and agencies within Regional Health Authorities and the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Facilities and agencies can refer individuals to a specific program or service, and are asked to submit all necessary documentation. The Intake Team for that program, which generally consists of a physician and other care providers, will make the decision regarding appropriateness for assessment and admission to specialized care.