Mental Health and Substance Use Information and Publications

Last updated on November 16, 2023



Alcohol remains the most widely-used drug in Canada, with close to 80 per cent of British Columbians reporting drinking in the past year. Hazardous alcohol use can lead to a number of health and social problems such as injuries, violence, certain cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and liver disease. The harms and costs associated with alcohol use are greater than those for all illegal substances combined. Canada has developed low risk drinking guidelines to help Canadians balance the benefits and harms associated with alcohol.

Use the following resources to find general information and advice around alcohol:

Understanding Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines

Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines help Canadians moderate their alcohol consumption and reduce immediate and long-term alcohol-related harm.

Alcohol Reality Check

A lot of people wonder if they drink too much and if their drinking habits are unhealthy or put them at risk of harm or becoming dependent. This simple test helps you figure it out.

Life Ring

LifeRing support groups provide access for women and men to community-based mutual self-help support groups for those who self-identify with problematic substance use.


  • Anxiety Disorders Toolkit
    A resource to help individuals cope with an anxiety disorder and to educate anyone wanting to learn more about this common type of mental health problem.

Case Management

Consumer Involvement

Crisis Intervention


  • Antidepressant Skills Workbook
    A self-care manual that provides an overview of depression, explains how it can be effectively managed according to the best available research and gives a step-by-step guide to changing patterns that trigger depression. Also available in Chinese, French and Punjabi.
  • British Columbia’s Provincial Depression Strategy (PDF, 2.1MB)
    A strategy to identify opportunities to improve the quality and effectiveness of British Columbia’s approach to the prevention and treatment of depression.
  • Antidepressant Skills Workbook for Teens
    This toolkit contains resources and strategies important for the self-management of depression.
  • Managing Depression 
    A series of three toolkits to help you process a diagnosis of depression, work with your health professional, and prevent a relapse.

Developmental Disabilities

Eating Disorders

Employment and Education Supports

Family Involvement

Financial Assistance for Psychiatric Medication (Plan G)

  • No-Charge Psychiatric Medication: PlanG
    The plan provides coverage of certain psychiatric medications. Available to individuals of any age who are registered with a mental health service centre and who demonstrate clinical and financial need.

Harm Reduction

Housing and Homelessness

In-Patient Psychiatric Care

Income Support

Information Sharing Resources

Language Service

  • The Provincial Language Service
    Provides both on-site and telephone interpreting in over 100 languages for agencies and institutions across the province.



  • PRISM Services
    This Vancouver Coastal Health service provides supports for substance-use-affected lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-gendered, queer and Two Spirit communities.
  • QMUNITY is BC's queer resource centre – the hub for the lesbian, gay, trans*, bi and queer community program, training and advocacy. Health related resources are available including mental health and substance use.
  • C.A.L.L. OUT is a program is a program that engages LGBT2Q+ youth ages 15-24 in meaningful activities to build their skills and connect them to their communities to empower them to make healthier choices about drug and alcohol use and overall well-being.

Maternal Health

Mental Health and Substance Use Fact Sheets

Mental Health First Aid

  • Mental Health First Aid Course
    A course offered by the Canadian Mental Health Association course for people who want to gain a better understanding of mental illnesses and develop basic skills to deal with concerns arising from a mental illness.
  • Mental Health First Aid Canada
    Provided by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Mental Health First Aid Canada program aims to improve mental health literacy, and provide the skills and knowledge to help people better manage potential or developing mental health problems in themselves, a family member, a friend or a colleague.

Mental Health Promotion

Opioid Substitution Therapy

One of the most effective options for treating opioid (e.g., heroin, morphine, oxycodone) dependence is to provide patients with the pharmaceutical drug methadone. The drug acts as a substitute, enabling patients to stabilize their lives and avoid the risks associated with the non-medical use of illegal opioids (e.g., overdose, HIV or hepatitis C transmission by injection).

Use the following resources to find general information and advice around opioid substitution therapy.

B.C. Opioid Substitution Treatment System Performance Measures

Methadone and suboxone maintenance treatment for opioid dependence in B.C. has undergone significant growth over the past decade. This report from B.C.’s Office of the Provincial Health Officer provides data on the reach of B.C.’s opioid substitution treatment system. The information it presents is important for improving health service delivery and health system planning and, ultimately, achieving better health outcomes for opioid-dependent people in the province.

Methadone Facts for Patients

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. offers answers to basic medical questions about methadone. The information provides advice on avoiding accidental overdoses. Questions are also answered on possible drug interactions, long-term effects of methadone, and how methadone doses should be stored.

B.C. Methadone Clinics

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia maintains a list of methadone clinics that are accepting new patients.

Overdose Emergency

Parental Mental Illness

Police and Corrections

The following information sheets developed by the Canadian Mental Health Association outline common issues related to police interactions with people with mental illness and substance use disorders:


Primary Care

Psychological Treatment




Schizophrenia is a mental illness that causes people to lose touch with reality and sometimes makes it difficult for them to think and speak in an organized way. This loss of touch with reality is called psychosis. Psychosis is a part of Schizophrenia, but may also be seen on its own. For more information on Schizophrenia see:

Self-Help Tools

  • From Grief to Action
    A not-for-profit advocacy and support network for families and friends affected by drug use.
  • Fact Sheets
    A series of 42 basic fact sheets on various mental health and addictions topics.
  • Managing Mental Disorders
    A series of three toolkits to help people who already know that they have a mental disorder develop skills to manage their illness on their own
  • Managing Depression 
    A series of three toolkits to help you process a diagnosis of depression, work with your health professional, and prevent a relapse.
  • You and Substance Use
    A resource which educates the user about the impacts of problem alcohol or drug use behaviour, treatments and strategies on becoming more active in the recovery process.


Substance Use

Substance use can occur along a spectrum from beneficial use to problematic and dependent use. As a general rule, substance use is a problem when it negatively affects our life or the lives of others.



Quitting Smoking & Tobacco Use

Tobacco-related illness is the leading cause of preventable death in British Columbia. Tobacco use causes up to 6,000 deaths in the province each year, including over 100 non-smokers who die from diseases caused by second-hand smoke. Smoking kills more people in British Columbia than all other drugs, motor vehicle collisions, murder, suicide and HIV/AIDS combined. Learn more about the policies, programs and services the provincial government provides under the Tobacco Control program, including those on tobacco cessation (quitting smoking).


  • B.C. Trauma Informed Practice Guide (PDF, 1.8MB)
    This guide, which includes an organizational checklist, supports knowledge and awareness of trauma while helping to translate what we know into practical strategies for practitioners and system planners.

Treatment for Mental Health and Substance Use

Workplace Mental Health