Finding Professional Help
Here is a listing which outlines the types of professional help that can help people deal with problems related to common sources of stress, followed by tips on how to search for that help. Be sure to check out our “Resources” list for additional resource we think are very helpful.
Addiction (alcohol, drugs, gambling)
Most communities have programs and individual professionals who specialize in addiction counseling and treatment. Family doctors, medical professionals, psychologists and other mental health professionals can advise you on programs and services in your community.
Your family doctor, hospital social worker, and other mental health and health professionals may be able to direct you to professional help related to eldercare issues.
All Canadian provinces and territories have community agencies that provide or coordinate access to services related to home care and other supports for senior citizens. The names of these agencies differ from province to province. Search for services with names or keywords such as community care, community care access centre, home care, continuing care, senior care.
- Credit Counselors can help you make a plan to resolve debt problems. They can also help with budget planning. To find one, contact your local family service agency, bank or visit the website of Credit Counselling Canada, an umbrella association for agencies and individuals who provide credit counseling services which has an listing of certified credit counselors in every province and territory.
- Banks and credit unions: Investment advisors and personal bankers at your local bank or credit union can offer investment advice and may be able to direct you to other kinds of financial services.
- Registered financial planners provide investment advice and can also help you make a financial plan for your retirement. Registered financial planners are widely available and easily found via the telephone directory and Internet searches.
- Certified Divorce Financial Analysts (CFDAs) are financial analysts with special training in the financial aspects of divorce. There is no central registry of Canadian CFDAs, however a growing number of financial planning companies have one on their team
Obviously, health and mental health professionals are who we turn to first for treatment, care and therapy around health and mental health problems. However, people with physical and mental illness often need other kinds of professional help. If you are dealing with an illness, at first you may not know what sorts of professional help you might need other than treatment. But you might also benefit from social support and information about special products or support services related to your illness.
Your family doctor, medical specialist or mental health professional may be able to provide you with information about your concerns. Other possible sources of information include: hospital social workers, local public health department, national support organizations related to your health or mental health condition (eg., Canadian Cancer Society, Schizophrenia Society, Arthritis Society, Mood Disorders Society of Canada etc.). National organizations sometimes have online tools that can help you locate local services, support groups and other relevant information.
This list of provincial and territorial mental health helplines might be useful for you as well.
Various professionals have expertise in helping people with “normal” parenting problems, including parent educators and parenting coaches. Ask for assistance at your local parent-child resource centre, early years centre, family service agency or school.
Children’s mental health agencies help parents with more serious child behaviour issues or parenting problems. Medical, mental health and education professionals can give you advice about what is available in your community.
For parents of children with special needs, professional help options include specialists in your child’s disorder, and support organizations related to the child’s special need or condition.
- Clinical Psychologists offer expert counseling and therapy for numerous life problems including relationship problems. For information about finding a psychologist, visit the website of the Canadian Psychological Association
- Marriage and Family Therapists are professionals who can help people understand and find solutions to various kinds of relationship problems. To find out more, visit the Registry of Marriage and Family Therapists in Canada
- Or visit yellowpages.ca and search using the name of your community and keywords such as: psychologist, marriage counseling or family therapy.
Depending on your workplace, you may have several options: speaking with your supervisor, human resources department (if there is one), or union representative (if you are a union member). If you feel you are being discriminated against in your workplace, you may want to contact the Human Rights Tribunal for your province. If you believe your employer is in violation of the Employment Standards Act for your province, contact your provincial Ministry of Labour for more information.
How to Search for Professional Help
If you are not sure where to find professional help in your community, here are some ideas to help you get started with your search.
- Members of the clergy (minister, rabbi, priest, imam etc.) often do counseling and may be able to connect you with appropriate professionals
- Family physician or other health professionals
- Friend who works in human services (social work, psychology, counseling, teaching, medical professions etc.)
- Information and Referral Services
Many communities have information centres, which provide information on various programs and services that are available in your community. Search for information centre, information and referral services, information bureau.
211 is a relatively new national service that has become a primary source of information on government and community-based health and social services. The service currently serves British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and will soon be available in Nunavut. To speak directly with an information specialist, dial 2-1-1.
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Some workplaces (usually larger and/or unionized workplaces) have employee assistance programs that assist employees, immediate family members and retirees with personal problems. EAPs can provide assistance with searches for child care or eldercare, and referral to legal services and counseling for various kinds of problems (eg. debt, mental health, substance abuse, gambling, marital, family).
The information or reference desk at your local public library may be able to give you advice on how to find the professional help and supports you need.