• Advertisement

  • Who you gonna call? Counselor, Psychologist or Psychiatrist.

    It is often discussed “How do I know who to chat with when I have mental wellness concerns?”

    To clarify the dilemma, here it is:

    A Counselor is a person that helps clients achieve overall wellness and peace of mind. They will help work through situational challenges with their clients to come to place of mental balance. Their educational background will usually be a master’s degree in educational psychology or counselling. There is no referral needed to see a counselor from your family physician. The client can choose from a directory through a google search ie.” How to find a reputable counselor”, or follow up on a recommendation from the family physician or friends. A counselor is the most expedient to access and the most reasonable cost. Unfortunately, counselor services are not often covered under most insurance extended health benefits.

    A Psychologist is a professional that analyzes clients from an exact scientific perspective, and then treats their individual concerns. Mostly these clients have concerns of situational, moderate to severe interruptions in their daily activities, or specific areas of Mental Health imbalance.  A psychologist will hold a doctorate degree in clinical psychology or another specialty like counseling or education. They evaluate a client’s mental health using clinical interviews, psychological evaluations and testing. They can make a diagnosis and provide individual and group counseling. Psychologists do not prescribe medications. Often times they work together with psychiatrists in regards to medications and overall care. A referral to a psychologist may originate from your family Physician or self referral. Psychologists may specialize in sub specialties like, ADHD, Eating Disorders, or Trauma. The costs to see a Psychologist can range from $100-300/session. These Professional services usually can be claimed under extended health benefits insurance.

    A Psychiatrist treats clients with severe Mental Illness, like severe fluctuations of mood, behavior, and disruptions to activities of daily living. Psychiatrists work best to diagnose and treat with medications. They are educated as a medical physician with an ensuing four year specialty in psychiatry. Psychiatrists can admit clients to hospitals, prescribe medications, and often times work with psychologists who work in individual and group therapies to support clients to a stable mental balance. Psychiatrists are seen via referrals from Family Physicians or Psychologists or other sub specialties like Emergency Room Physicians. The care and services under a psychiatrist is covered under Alberta Health Services.

    Hopefully this helps to clarify the types of services, education level and fees for service of the professional Counselors, Psychologists, and Psychiatrists available to assist with Mental Illness and Wellness. 

    Mental Wellness Resources:

    It has been an incredible and unusually stressful 20 months for everyone during this pandemic. It has taken a toll on the mental health and wellness of many people of all ages. Please remember there is always help available through your Doctor’s office walk in clinics or urgent help lines. Mental health is as important as your physical health, don’t hesitate to address your mental wellness concerns the same way you would consider addressing a physical ailment. 

    Here are available mental health services available for access:

    • Owl Pod Counselling: www.owlpod.ca

    Online counselling for 16 years and older, 7 days/week. All appointments are free, virtual, covered by Alberta Health. No Referral is required, people can book their own appointments, no limit to the number of appointments.

    • Community Connect YYC: www.communityconnectyyc.ca
    • Offers counselling and resource support, affordable, barrier free access to phone or video counselling, Rapid Access Counselling, Grief Supports, Adult General Counselling and groups, Counseling for Children and Families, Domestic Violence Support, Sexual Health Support, Counselling for Immigrants and First languages, Low Income Family Supports, Rapid Access Addiction Medicine. 
    • Every Partner organization ensures that finances will never get in the way of accessing the service a client needs.
    • Available 24/7, book online within a week
    • Access Mental Health:  403-943-1500, M-F 8:am- 5:pm.

    Non Urgent Patient, (without suicidal ideations), no referral necessary, physician referral for psychiatry.

    Patient to call and be assessed over the phone by Mental Health Clinicians regarding addiction/and or Mental Health concerns and needs. Clinicians are aware of both AHS and Community based programs and will explore best options with patient and make referrals. FYI: Youth Psychology services available, patient initiated, 5-6 sessions free.

    • Walk-In Services: 
    • Adult Addiction Services (adults) 403-367-5000, 3rd Flr, 707-10th Ave SW Calgary, Hours; 9:am- 8:pm Weekdays, Services: Intakes and assessments.
    • Mental Health Walk-in South Calgary Health Centre (all ages):  phone: 403-943-9374; 2nd flr, 31 Sunpark Plaza SE Calgary; M-Th 4:pm- 7:pm, Friday 9:am-12:pm; Services, Single session therapy.
    • Youth Substance Use and Mental Health Services: (youth age 12-19 years) 403-297-4664; 1005-17th Street NW Calgary; Hours; M,W,F, 8:30am- 11:am., Phone for evening hours. Services; Intakes and assessments.
    • Eastside Community Mental Health Services (all ages) Phone: 403-299-9699. Mon-Sat, visit website for hours at woodshomes.ca/eastside. SE Calgary. Service: single session therapy (by appointment)
    • Family Physicians: your Medical Home is usually your first point of contact for Mental Health Resources. The PCN Team can support you and direct you to the best resources available to you.
    • Find a Psychologist in your area: www.psychologytoday.com with postal code.

    Respectfully submitted from the Chestermere and area Mental Health Coalition.

    Stay tuned for more amazing Mental Health resources available here within your community in January 2022.