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HealthInfo Canterbury

Brief intervention counselling service (BIS)

Brief intervention counselling service (BIS) clinicians are registered mental health professionals from a variety of backgrounds who've had specific training as BIS counsellors and coordinators.

A BIS clinician can help you with low mood, anxiety, alcohol or substance abuse and other mental health issues.

There's no charge to see a BIS clinician, but you must first get a referral from a GP. If you meet the criteria for referral you can receive up to five funded therapy sessions with a BIS clinician in your area.

The BIS clinician can give you therapy, advice and assessment. They can also refer you to other agencies once their sessions have finished. BIS clinicians can normally see patients in the community and often in their GP clinic.

You may have to wait a few weeks before a BIS clinician can see you. If you need more urgent help, you can call 0800‑920‑092.

To see if you qualify for the funded sessions, your GP may ask you to fill in a short questionnaire and use this to work out a score. If your score is lower than the level needed for a referral to a BIS clinician, your GP will recommend other options for counselling. Your GP will also suggest community agencies that may be able to offer support.

BIS clinicians are available in rural Canterbury as well as in Christchurch.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed December 2020.

Page reference: 134131

Review key: HIHMI-138165