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Getting Help

Your questions

Where do I start if I’m experiencing mental health or substance use challenges?

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).

Where do I start if I’m concerned about my child, a family member or a friend?

If you are concerned about your child

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.

If you are concerned about a family member or friend

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.

What can I do while I’m waiting for help?

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.

What can I do if I don’t seem to be getting anywhere?

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
  • Teachers
  • Advocate

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. 

How do I find out about a referral to BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services?

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.


Bounce Back

Bounce Back is a skill-building program for adults experiencing low mood or stress with or without anxiety. It offers self-guided online resources and telephone or e-coaching to reinforce cognitive-behavioral strategies for overcoming challenges such as inactivity, avoidance, worry, and unhelpful thinking. The Bounce Back program is funded through BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, and is delivered through the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), BC Division.

Bounce Back telephone coaching is available free of charge through a referral from a family doctor, and is available anywhere in the province. If you are interested in Bounce Back, please talk to your family doctor, or read more by visiting the Bounce Back page on the CMHA website.

If you are interested in accessing the online version of Bounce Back, start by taking the quiz at

Government of BC Support

Mental Health & Substance Use Supports in B.C.

The Government of B.C. has launched a new mental health digital hub that connects British Columbians with services and supports closest to them.

Here to Help

Here to Help is for adults, and offers "Mental health and substance use information you can trust."

Kelty Resource Centre

The Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre is a provincial resource centre that provides mental health and substance use information, resources, and peer support to children, youth and their families from across BC. They also provide peer support to people of all ages with eating disorders. All of their services are free of charge, and you can reach them over the phone, in person, or through email. Email: is a website that provides young people and their families with a one-stop access point for mental health and well-being, substance use, social support and services, navigation assistance and self-management. 

Contact info

Emergency numbers

If you, or someone in your care, has chest pains, difficulty breathing or severe bleeding, it could be life-threatening. 

Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately.

Ambulance, fire, police

Phone: 9-1-1

Poison Control

Phone: 1-800-567-8911

Substance Use Services

A network of direct and contracted services for substance use problems, including counselling, needle exchange, opiate replacement therapy, withdrawal management and youth prevention.

Phone: 1-866-658-1221

The Alcohol & Drug Information & Referral Service

Find resources, support and referral information for treatments and counsellors across the province.

Phone: 1-800-663-1441 (toll-free in BC) or 604-660-9382

Crisis Intervention & Suicide Prevention Centre

Confidential, non-judgmental, free emotional support 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including feelings which may lead to suicide.

Crisis Lines in BC: 604-310-6789 and 1-800-SUICIDE(784-2433)

Kids Help Phone

Immediate and caring support, information and, if necessary, referral to a local community or social service agency.

Phone: 1-800-668-6868

Youth in BC Distress Line

24-hour distress line staffed by counsellors and trained volunteers who are committed to helping youths in crisis.

Phone: 604-872-3311

Regional Health Authorities mental health webpages

Northern Health

Interior Health

Vancouver Island Health Authority

Vancouver Coastal Health

Fraser Health

Ministry of Child & Family Development local child & youth mental health offices

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