July 24, 2016

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I need to find a psychiatrist. Can you refer me to one?

Non-emergency referrals to psychiatrists are generally obtained through your family doctor. The first step is an appointment with your regular family physician or a primary (community) health centre to discuss your mental health problem and request a referral to a psychiatrist in your area. If you do not have a family doctor or are not served by a local health centre, you can contact your provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons or Medical Board for help to find a primary care physician.

If you experience urgent mental health problems, go to the nearest hospital emergency department, where you will be seen by a psychiatrist or resident on emergency call if required. If you or a family member experience distress and cannot get to an emergency department, contact a distress or crisis phone line service; they are located in many urban centres and regions. This information is available in local phone books or by calling police.

Many provincial health ministries now also provide 24/7 telephone access to a health care provider (usually a nurse), who can offer basic front line advice and can often help you find local services. If you cannot find the phone number in your telephone book or online, call your local community health centre or hospital.

Some provinces offer additional services to patients seeking referrals to psychiatrists.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta offers a physician search at http://www.cpsa.ab.ca/PhysicianSearch/AdvancedSearch.aspx that you can search by health region, speciality, and whether the physician is accepting new patients, has non-certified medical interests, or has experience in treating specific illnesses or conditions. If you cannot find the information you need online, call the College at 780-423-4764 or 1-800-561-3899 (Alberta only).

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia lists physicians who are accepting patients. Click https://www.cpsbc.ca/physician_search for the physician directory.

The College of Physicians and Surgeon of Manitoba's website has a physician directory at http://cpsm.mb.ca/physician-directory Alternatively, call the College at 204-774-4344, toll free at 877-774-4344 (in Manitoba); or e-mail them at cpsm@cpsm.mb.ca.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick's website offers a medical directory. http://www.cpsnb.org/webdata/drdbase_form.shtml It can be searched by specialty and region. This directory gives the physician's full name and address as well as telephone and fax numbers.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador website has a physician search directory. http://www.nmb.ca/default.asp?com=DoctorSearch&adv=1 However, referrals to psychiatrists are made by general practitioners only, and physicians listed in the directory may not be accepting patients.

The Department of Health & Social Services of the Government of the Northwest Territories has an index of Hospitals, Health Centres, Clinics and Units at http://www.hss.gov.nt.ca/health/feeling-sick/hospitals-health-centres-clinics-and-units. Residents can also consult the online Health and Social Services System Navigator at http://www.hss.gov.nt.ca/health-and-social-services-system-navigator.

In Nova Scotia, psychiatric referrals are obtained only through general practitioners. However, there is a physician directory available through the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia https://cpsnsphysiciansearch.com/search.aspx. Physicians included in this directory may not be accepting patients.

The Department of Health and Social Services of the Government of Nunavut lists the territory's
Health Centres. http://www.gov.nu.ca/Nunavut/English/departments/HSS/. The Professional Licensing Registrar of the Government of Nunavut is responsible for licensing physicians in the territory. Their contact information is PO Box 390, Kugluktuk, NU, X0B 0E0. Telephone: 867-982-7668 Fax: 867-982-3256.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario website's Doctor Search service http://www.cpso.on.ca/public-register/all-doctors-search provides information about individual physicians, including practice address, telephone number, qualifications, and whether they are accepting new patients. To find a psychiatrist, use the advanced search. This service does not tell you if a physician has expertise in specific areas. Specialists generally require a referral from a family doctor to book an appointment.

In P.E.I. psychiatric referrals are obtained through general practitioners only. For a listing of psychiatrists in PEI, see http://cpspei.ca/public-info/physician-search-2/

In Quebec, referrals to psychiatrists are made by primary care physicians only. Obtain one through your family doctor. If you do not have a family doctor, consult the Portail santĂ© mieux-ĂȘtre : http://sante.gouv.qc.ca/en/repertoire-ressources/

In Saskatchewan, referrals to psychiatrists are made by general practitioners only.

In the Yukon, call Mental Health Services at 867-667-8346. Mental Health Services provides a range of clinical services to persons with serious mental health problems, including assessment, treatment, consultation and referral. Mental Health Services also provides information and assistance on the use of the Mental Health Act.

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