As a young person you may at times want to get mental health or substance-use supports on your own.
This could be for a variety of reasons. You might feel like your family will react negatively, or you may have safety concerns. If this is the case, there are ways you can get help for yourself.
If you are between 12 and 24 years old, you can reach out to Foundry BC. At Foundry BC, you can access services including counselling, peer support, substance-use services, groups, medical appointments, and help seeking employment. Foundry BC has in-person services in various communities across the province, as well as online services through their app, Foundry Virtual.
If you are 13 years old or older, you can attend an intake at a Child and Youth Mental Health clinic on your own or with the support of a trusted adult. An intake appointment is an in-person or virtual conversation with a counsellor to talk about what you are experiencing and the services that may help. The counsellor may recommend a number of options, including supports in the community, additional counselling options or referral to other professionals like a psychologist or therapist. You can learn more about what to expect during a Child and Youth Mental Health intake here.
You could also consider reaching out to a helpline. This can be a good option if you need help right away. Helplines are also there for you if you just need someone understanding to talk to. Helplines are free, and some can even be accessed using online chat or text message for extra privacy.
Your BC Services Card
You should know that some services require you to show your BC Services Card, also known as your MSP number or care card
You can write down the 10-digit “Personal Health Number” on the back of the card if you can’t bring the physical card with you
Taking a picture of the front and back of your card is another great option
Your school counsellor might also have access to your Services Card number if you don’t know where the card is kept
If you do not have access to your Services Card, you can discuss other options—other services might be available to you without your card
Speaking to a doctor or counsellor for the first time can be intimidating, especially if you have never gone to an appointment alone before. It might be helpful to speak to a friend or trusted adult to help you prepare. You could also bring a list of questions to ask so you don’t forget.
Often young people think their questions are silly or not important—remember that you have the right to understand what is happening for you, and to learn about different options for support. Helping you understand this is part of a doctor or counsellor’s job.
You can also ask someone to come with you to help remind you if you get anxious or nervous during appointments.
Often, getting support can feel complicated. There may be lots of information for you to remember. It is common for people to take notes during appointments—you can ask your doctor or counsellor to repeat information, or to explain words to you. A friend or trusted adult can also join you in your appointments to take notes if you need help.
The first time we visit a doctor or counsellor is often with our parents or guardians. If you have visited a provider with your family before, they may have your parent’s contact information on file. You can request that they change the contact information to your own phone number or email if you want to keep appointment reminders and other calls private.
It is common for youth to worry that their parents will be able to see when they have visited a doctor or counsellor. Your BC Services Card does not track appointments—there is no website or account where your parents can see how many appointments you have had. You can discuss with the provider and their front desk staff whether they can tell your parents or guardians that you have had an appointment.
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Offers health and social services for young people to access mental health care, substance use services, youth and family peer supports, primary care, and social services. Services are provided together in a single place to make it easier for young people to find the care, connection and support they need.
Centres provide safe, non-judgmental care, information and resources in a youth-friendly space and work to reach young people earlier - before health challenges become problematic.
Offers an online support network to support youth and young adults in crisis. Volunteers offer risk assessment, emotional support, referrals to community resources, and help with creating safety plans. The network includes chat, text and a youth resource directory. Email counselling with a professional youth counsellor is also available.