How It Works | How to Get a Referral | Service Hours | For Health & Wellness Providers
The First Nations Virtual Substance Use and Psychiatry Service provides Indigenous people in BC with access to specialists in addictions medicine and psychiatry.
This is a referral-based service and is available at no cost to all people in BC who identify as being Indigenous. This service is also available to the family members of Indigenous people, even if they are non-status. Specialists are dedicated to the principles and practices of cultural safety and humility, and to delivering trauma-informed care.
This service is unique in that it encourages the referring provider or another community health support person to attend the specialist appointment with the client. This ensures that local knowledge is available to the specialist for care planning and that there is continued support for the client between appointments.
The client and the health and wellness provider call a toll-free number together to set up the appointment. Appointments can happen on the same day of the call, or within a few days, depending on demand for the service.
The service is delivered through Zoom for Healthcare at a scheduled time that works for the provider and client. Attending an appointment on Zoom is simple. Clients and providers click the link in an email invitation to launch the appointment.
Clients can work with their care providers to choose a location for the appointments. This may include a private room in a health centre or the client’s home. If a provider is not able to be with the client for the entire appointment, the service asks that they be nearby in case they are needed for support or planning next steps.
The service welcomes referrals from trusted health and wellness providers, Knowledge Keepers and Elders. Examples of referring providers also include, but are not limited to: general practitioners, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and registered psychiatric nurses, addictions workers, wellness workers, Traditional Medicine specialists, mental health counsellors, community health reps, treatment centre staff, the First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day service and mental health counsellors registered with First Nations Health Benefits.
The service currently runs on weekdays (the goal is to expand to weekends as need and capacity increase).
Substance Use and Addictions Medicine: Monday to Friday 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Psychiatry: Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Health and wellness providers are welcome to call the service for consultation if they need additional support or knowledge to attend to the needs of complex clients.
The following guides offer detailed information for providers about the referral process.
Referral Guide for Health and Wellness Providers (fact sheet)
Health and Wellness Provider webinar (video)
Introduction to First Nations Virtual Substance Use and Psychiatry Service (presentation)
To get a referral to this service, please contact your health and wellness provider (see How to Get a Referral).
Health and wellness providers: call 1-833-456-7655 for for assistance or referral.