Services / Mental Health

Mental Health Services

People living with physical illnesses such as IBD often experience mental health concerns.

For some people, mental health may decline as a direct result of a chronic illness, while for others, preexisting psychiatric disorders may affect their ability to cope with a chronic illness. If you have IBD, The IBD Centre of BC is here to help.


  • Are there any resources in the community available?

    The IBD Centre of BC is now offering group sessions (“Gutfellas”) run by a clinical counsellor that addresses strategies for managing common mental health concerns and chronic illness. This service is free of charge to all our patients. You may call the office if you want to learn more: 604-416-4444, ext. 278.

    The following community resources may also be helpful:

    • Ask your family doctor for a referral to the CBT Skills Group ( This is an online program that combines cognitive-behavioral, mindfulness, and emotion-regulation skills.
    • For a list of online resources, visit this link.

    If you would like to work with a mental health provider, you can:

  • Is there a link between inflammatory bowel disease and mental health?

    Research suggests that people with IBD are at increased risk for symptoms of depression and anxiety. Poor mental health in IBD patients is associated with a significant impact on quality of life, worse disease course, and difficulty with medication management.

  • Are The IBD Centre of BC mental health services for me?

    If you’re a patient of The IBD Centre of BC and you are having trouble with mood, anxiety, stress, illness management, or other mental health concerns, ask your gastroenterologist about a referral to The IBD Centre of BC for a mental health assessment. Based on an initial consultation, our team will suggest the best level of treatment for you. We offer group and individual therapy, as well as self-help and educational resources.

  • What type of services do mental health providers offer at The IBD Centre of BC?

    Our team performs patient assessments for depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns. If necessary, you will be offered the appropriate therapy or, if certain medications are required, referred to one of the Centre’s consulting psychiatrists.

    Assessment: At your initial appointment, we will review consent and privacy policies and procedures, gather your history, and ask for details about your current concerns. 

    Therapy: After your initial assessment, we’ll discuss treatment options with you. The frequency of therapy sessions and duration of treatment are determined collaboratively with your clinical counsellor and evaluated on an ongoing basis to ensure your mental health needs are being met. Some common areas for treatment include depression, anxiety, eating concerns, trauma, family and other relationships, life transitions (e.g. divorce, starting post-secondary education, loss of a loved one), and managing IBD or other chronic illnesses. You may be referred to our consulting psychiatrist for a medication consultation.

  • What are your treatment approaches?

    Treatment at The IBD Centre of BC generally involves cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) interventions, which combine two widely researched therapeutic approaches: cognitive therapy and behavioural therapy. CBT is collaborative, client-centred and goal-oriented. Individuals learn to identify how their thoughts, feelings and behaviours are connected and gain skills to manage symptoms and make positive life changes. Research has shown that CBT is an effective approach in treating a wide range of mental health concerns.

    Cognitive therapy involves examining how your thoughts may influence your feelings and emotions. Individuals work on identifying and modifying maladaptive thinking patterns to minimize unwanted symptoms. 

    Behavioural therapy strategies vary across problem areas, but therapy often involves working to identify and increase pleasurable or meaningful activities that improve mood and overall quality of life. For people with anxiety or those who are adjusting to difficult life circumstances, Behaviour Therapy might involve working to confront feared or challenging situations through taking gradual steps toward larger goals.