I think it’s fair to say that this year has been tough for everyone. I personally struggled quite a bit with managing both my mental and physical health. These days, I am incredibly grateful for my support system. I am lucky and privileged to have access to so many resources.
However, navigating the health care system can be so tricky that it’s important to learn how to advocate for yourself. So many people get discouraged when they realize it can take a while to receive treatment. But I always tell people to get on the waitlist anyway (seriously, get on the waitlist anyway).
Because time flies by, and before you know it, you’ll be receiving that phone call to let you know that you’re next in line to receive the services you need and deserve.
Writing this article, I am aware of the privilege I have. Not everyone has access to many resources or lives in a place where there’s lots of mental health professionals. But I always do believe that there is a resource out there for everyone.
General Practitioner (GP)
I believe everyone should have a GP. If you don’t have one in the community, check out UBC Student Health Services. I’ve been seeing the same GP from Student Health since my arrival at UBC.
If you’re struggling with a mental illness, you can get a referral to psychiatry at UBC Student Health Services. Psychiatrists help with psychotherapy and medication managements. Truthfully, I know lots of people who had great as well as not-so-great experiences, so manage your expectations before you go in!
If you struggle with eating and food, you can ask to be referred to a dietician. There are programs at Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital and St. Paul’s Hospital. Your community GP or Student Health Services can refer you. Or you can find a private dietician using this website.
Registered Massage Therapist (RMT)
If you need a massage or are recovering from an injury, seeing an RMT can be beneficial. Check your extended health insurance plan; or try Langara’s RMT clinic. Each session costs $20 if you’re a student.
If you’d like to try seeing a different practitioner for a range of health issues, try a naturopathic doctor. Naturopathic doctors are trained like medical doctors. They help with prescribing supplements, medications, acupuncture and IV treatment (for example, IV treatment for iron deficiency). I tried acupuncture myself and found it to be a cool experience!
Psychologist can help you manage your symptoms if you struggle with a mental illness. Again, check out your extended health insurance plan. You can find a registered psychologist here.
If you want to focus on your physical health, you could try seeing a personal trainer at UBC. The initial assessment is free, and then you can decide whether you’d like to purchase a package. Personally, I had a lovely experience with this resource.
Overall, I encourage you to look around, do some research and reach out to professionals whom, I believe, want to help you succeed, and reach your wellness goals. Having a support system can make such a huge difference! I’m incredibly grateful for my support system, because ultimately their belief in my ability to succeed has helped me become a better, and healthier, person.
The authors of this column are not mental health professionals. If you need additional support, please contact Student Health Services, the Sexual Assault Support Centre and/or the Wellness Centre. In case of an emergency, call 911.