The holidays can be a fun, joyful time for families, but can also add to stress levels, affect depression and be challenging for people with mental health issues and substance use concerns.
It’s easy and normal to feel overwhelmed at this time of year, with the extra pressures of holiday celebrations, family time and gift-giving, so it’s important to make mental health a priority. With all these competing demands on personal time, what can you do if you or a loved one needs a little extra support this holiday season?
There are a variety of mental health and substance use services and supports available throughout the province for adults and youth. These supports are easy to access, and the people on the other end of the phone are always ready to listen and help. These include:
- Mental Health and Substance Use Information: Heretohelp.bc.ca is a provincial mental health and substance use website providing information about managing mental illness and maintaining good mental health, including self-management resources, and screening self-tests for wellness, mood, anxiety and risky drinking.
- 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 toll-free: 1 866 658-1221.
- The Alcohol & Drug Information and Referral Service: Find resources, support and referral information for treatment and counsellors across the province. Phone toll-free: 1 800 663-1441 or 604 660-9382 (Greater Vancouver).
- HealthLink BC: 24-hour, confidential health information and advice. Phone: 8-1-1, or visit: www.healthlinkbc.ca
- Crisis Intervention and 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 thoughts of suicide. Phone: 604 872-3311 (Greater Vancouver) or toll-free 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 toll-free: 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.
For more information on supports specific to your region, visit:
- Northern Health: www.northernhealth.ca/YourHealth/MentalHealthAddictions.aspx
- Interior Health: www.interiorhealth.ca/YourCare/MentalHealthSubstanceUse/Pages/default.aspx
- Vancouver Island Health Authority: www.viha.ca/mhas/
- Vancouver Coastal Health: www.vch.ca/your_health/health_topics/Mental%20Health%20Services/Mental%20Health%20Services
- Fraser Health: www.fraserhealth.ca/your_care/mental-health-and-substance-use/
- Ministry of Child and Family Development: Local Child and Youth Mental Health Offices: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/mental_health/contacts.htm
- Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre: keltymentalhealth.ca/node/2572
Make mental health your personal priority this holiday, and ask for help and support from family, friends and community service agencies.
For an audio clip of Health Minister Terry Lake speaking about mental health supports, please visit: https://soundcloud.com/bcgov/minister-lake-mental-health-supports-december-2014/s-4eEPJ
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Children and Family Development
250 356-1639 (media line)