Family Doctors and Psychiatrists

Family Doctors

Family doctors can play an important role in supporting you when you are feeling like something is just not right. They are also known as a general practitioner, GP, family physician or primary care physician.

Your family doctor has the knowledge and resources to help rule out other medical conditions that sometimes can cause certain behaviours or symptoms. They can also prescribe medication if they think that would be helpful for you.

Your family doctor may refer you to other specialized services, such as a pediatrician or psychiatrist, or specialized mental health services, such as community mental health clinics, hospital clinics, or hospital inpatient programs.

If you currently do not have a family doctor, you can visit any Walk in Clinic, no appointment is necessary.

You can find a family doctor in your community who accepts new patients by visiting the physician directory on the College of Physicians and Surgeons website or calling them at 1-800-461-3008.

Except for a few specialized services, visits to your family doctors are free of charge if you have a BC CareCard or have coverage from another provincial medical services plan.


While family doctors have generalized experience in mental health care, psychiatrists have specialized expertise in mental health problems. They are able to prescribe medications and offer psychotherapy (i.e., counselling). In order to see a psychiatrist, you will require a referral from a family doctor or mental health professional.

The amount and type of counselling psychiatrists provide often depends on the psychiatrist and on the mental illness being treated. Your BC CareCard covers the cost of psychiatrist visits.