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How can my child see a psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor with extra training in mental health and substance use challenges and disorders. There are a limited number of child and youth psychiatrists in BC.

In order for your child to see a psychiatrist, you will need a referral from a doctor. We understand that it can be challenging to see a psychiatrist and often the wait lists can be very long. Talk to your doctor about your options.

Ask your family doctor, nurse practitioner or pediatrician if it would be helpful to see a child and youth psychiatrist. You can also be referred to a psychiatrist by doctors at walk-in clinics or your local Child & Youth Mental Health (CYMH) clinic.

Your doctor may refer your child to a pediatrician to manage their mental health concerns. The pediatrician can then refer them to a psychiatrist for further assessment to diagnose a mental health disorder, and to prescribe psychiatric medications. Some provide therapy while others will work along with a counsellor or psychologist who provides the therapy. 

First Nations people and their family can also ask health and wellness providers in their circle of care for a referral to the First Nations Virtual Substance Use and Psychiatry Service. Together, you and your care provider attend a virtual appointment with a specialist in psychiatry.

Visits with a psychiatrist are free and covered by the BC Medical Service Plan. All you need to bring with you is your child’s BC Services Card/CareCard.

Featured Resource:

Understanding Child and Youth Psychiatric Care in BC (CYMHSU Collaborative)

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