It can be hard to figure out what to do if you’re concerned about a young person in your family. Many people start by talking with their family doctor. If you don’t have a family doctor, you can find a doctor through the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC. You can also visit a walk-in clinic. Depending on the situation, your family doctor may offer everything you need. If your child needs more specialized services, such as psychiatry services, your family doctor needs to make a referral for your child. Many family doctors can also recommend community services or supports in your community. Learn more about the role of family doctors in the info sheet What to Expect from Your Family or Walk-In Clinic Doctor.
If your child’s difficulties affect their performance or behaviour at school, the school may be involved. If your child’s school has a counsellor, talk to them about services you can access through the school. School counsellors can also suggest community services. See the info sheet What to Expect from Your Child's School.
Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre offers information, resources, peer support, and system navigation to children, youth, and families experiencing mental health or substance use challenges. Their Help Finder tool and help you navigate the mental health system. Kelty Mental Health is based at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, but they support young people and their families across the province.
Institute of Families for Child and Youth Mental Health advocates for healthy young people and family support. They offer resources and education events across BC.
The Canadian Mental Health Association’s BC Division offers Confident Parents: Thriving Kids, a phone-based education and support program to help parents or caregivers manage mild to moderate behaviour problems for children ages 3 to 12. This program is free, but it requires a doctor’s referral.
You may also want to check out these resources from HeretoHelp on child and youth mental health and substance use:
- Mental Illnesses in Children and Youth info sheet
- Talking to Your Child or Teen About Anxiety info sheet
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Youth info sheet
- The Road Ahead: A Guidebook for Parents of Young Teens about alcohol and other drugs workbook
About the author
The Canadian Mental Health Association promotes the mental health of all and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing a mental illness through public education, community-based research, advocacy, and direct services. Visit www.cmha.bc.ca.
Q&A is for readers who want to take charge of their well-being, support a friend or loved one, find good help, or just learn more about mental health and substance use. Here, the information and resource experts at HeretoHelp will answer the questions that we’re asked most often. We'll offer tips and information, and we'll connect you with help in BC, Canada. If you have a question you’d like to ask, email us at [email protected], tweet @heretohelpbc, or log in to HeretoHelp and post a comment on this page.