When To Seek Help

Everyone experiences distress from time to time. 

Feelings such as sadness, anger, anxiety, irritability, fear, helplessness and confusion are ordinary feelings most people have in reaction to a stressful or negative event. These feelings are usually brief and don’t generally lead to a mental health issue. 

If these feelings are frequent and are interfering with daily activities, you may want to speak with a health care professional.

A good place to start is with your family doctor. If you don't have a family doctor,  you may be able to find one here: www.cpsbc.ca/physician_search

There are no common indicators to tell you when you should seek professional help but consider speaking with your supervisor, a counsellor, or family doctor if:

  • You have been feeling distress for a long time (weeks, months or years).

  • You are frequently feeling distressed or anxious and don’t know why.

  • You are crying frequently without knowing why.

  • You have feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness.

  • You are using alcohol or drugs to “feel better.”

  • You are having difficulty carrying out your normal daily activities or don’t find pleasure in activities that you enjoyed or that used to make you happy.

  • You are isolating yourself from family and friends.

  • Your family and friends have mentioned that you are acting differently and/or are worried about you.

  • You are having frequent angry outbursts towards others for no apparent reason.

If your distress is causing you to have dangerous thoughts or behaviours, such as harming yourself, help is available. 

  • For immediate help, call the 310Mental Health Support line at 310-6789 (no need to dial area code). This is a toll-free provincial number provides access to emotional support, information and resources specific to mental health.
  • If you or someone you know is suicidal, call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)​.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, some people worry about asking for help because of the stigma that may be associated with mental health issues. Some people may believe that asking for help means admitting that something is wrong and worry about how others might see them. We believe that asking for help means that you want to make changes or take steps towards your new health goals. Celebrate the courage it takes to speak up and make changes. Getting help is part of recovery. 

If you decide to speak with your supervisor, here are some tips on how to initiate that conversation.

For additional resources and advice on how to build your mental health support team, visit the Canadian Mental Health website:  


Last updated Thu, Sep 21, 2017