International Association of Fire Fighters Local 18   /   Vancouver Fire Rescue Services 

​VANFIRE Wellness

Counsellor Directory

If you're feeling overwhelmed and in need of support to address your challenges and change your reaction patterns, seeking help from a mental health practitioner can be a valuable step. Here's some guidance to set yourself up for success:

Check your coverage:

Understand your extended benefits, what your yearly benefits are, if you are curious about this ask someone from your wellness team to provide this information. 

Vancouver Local 18 Firefighters Click here for benefits information: 

Define your specific concerns:

Reflect on the areas you want to address, such as relationships, grief, trauma, or any other specific challenges.
Different mental health practitioners have specialized training and expertise, so finding one who aligns with your specific needs can increase the chances of success.

Now that you're ready to seek help, follow these steps:

Seek recommendations:

Reach out to trusted friends or colleagues and ask if they have had positive experiences with mental health practitioners whom they can recommend.
Consult your CISM/Peer Support team, as they often receive referral inquiries and may provide you with a few names to consider.

Research and choose:

Compile a list of three mental health practitioners specializing in your area of need.
Go online and read about their therapeutic approach, expertise, and background at your own pace.

After narrowing down your options to one or two practitioners, schedule a 15-minute phone call with each to:

Explain your situation and gauge their understanding and interpretation of your challenges.
Assess your comfort level and confidence in their ability to help you.

If the phone call doesn't feel right, don't hesitate to call someone else. It's crucial to find a practitioner you feel comfortable with. While it may take time and a few attempts, keep searching until you find the right fit.

Once you schedule an appointment, maintain momentum by booking follow-up sessions as soon as possible. Delaying appointments may lead you back to old coping mechanisms. If you feel the therapy isn't effective or the fit isn't right after a few sessions, consider trying another practitioner. It's not a reflection on therapy itself; rather, the fit may not be optimal. Communicating openly with your mental health practitioner about your experience can lead to adjustments that make a significant difference.

To start your search, utilize the BC Firstresponder Directory, which provides a comprehensive list of mental health providers in your area.

Psychiatrists or your family doctor can be suitable for medical or pharmaceutical treatment.
Psychologists, Registered Clinical Counsellors, or Social Workers are appropriate for therapeutic treatment.
Be cautious of terms like "therapists," "coaches," or "counsellors" without specific designations, as they may lack industry standards, governing bodies, or insurance coverage.

Taking this step towards seeking support is commendable, and we encourage you to persist until you find the right practitioner to guide you on your journey to better mental health and well-being.

If after reading this you realize that your issue may be that you are feeling suicidal, please contact someone. 
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