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HealthInfo Canterbury

Overview of getting help for a mental health issue

If you need urgent or emergency mental health care, or if you are worried about the mental health of a friend or family member, call your local mental health crisis team, Christchurch 0800‑920‑092, or Ashburton 0800‑222‑955 (24 hours, seven days a week).

Otherwise, visit your GP. If necessary, your GP can refer you for more specialised assessment and treatment.

If you need to find a GP, you can use this link.

Brief intervention counselling (BIC)

A BIC clinician is someone who can help you deal with mental health issues. BIC clinicians are registered mental health professionals from a variety of backgrounds, who have had specific training as brief intervention counsellors and coordinators.

There is no charge to see a BIC clinician, but you must first get a referral from a GP. For more information, see Brief intervention counselling.

Private help

If you don't qualify for funded sessions with a BIC clinician, or don't want to wait until a BIC clinician can see you, you can pay to see a private counsellor.

Depending on your needs, you could also go to see a private psychologist or psychiatrist (mental health doctor). If you aren't sure whether to see a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist, ask your GP. This Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists page tells you what the different types of mental health professionals do.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed July 2017. Last updated August 2018.

Page reference: 553936

Review key: HIHMI-138165