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Grad and Post-doc wellbeing

What is the Wellbeing Resource Folder?

The Wellbeing Resource Folder was created by the Graduate Student Wellness Network (GSWM) and was made for students by students when recognizing that no consolidated source of information containing on-campus, off-campus, and online wellbeing resources was available. While this Wellbeing Resource Folder is not exhaustive, we do hope that the folder can help guide you towards beneficial health resources. These resources include, but are not limited to, psychiatric, psychological, and counselling related services, health education resources, specialized support services, and subsidized fitness and recreation opportunities.

What is the difference between psychiatrists, psychologists, and counsellors?

There are many different mental health professions, and their distinctions are easily blurred. We focus on psychiatrists, psychologists, and counsellors below, but mental health professionals also include social workers, psychiatric nurses, and others. In general, we recommend you do some background research to determine which type of mental health professional training and area of expertise are right for you, but we hope that the information below can help guide you.

Psychiatrists go to medical school to receive their degrees (MD), and specialize in diagnosing and prescribing medications for mental health issues (e.g., antidepressants, anxiolytics for anxiety, stimulants for ADHD, antipsychotics, and more). Their ability to prescribe medication is what sets them apart from other mental health professionals (only MDs can prescribe medication). Some psychiatrists also provide therapy (see below).

Psychologists go to graduate school in Clinical Psychology programs to receive their degrees (PhD or PsyD), and specialize in diagnosing mental health issues and providing various kinds of therapy, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), and others. Many psychologists are trained in more than one type of therapy and can integrate them to suit your individual needs. Psychologists can provide therapy in individual and/or group formats.

Counsellors go to graduate school in Counselling programs to receive their degrees (typically Master’s-level), and can provide counselling for a wide range of mental, emotional, and relationship difficulties. Although they typically do not specialize in mental health difficulties that are as severe as those treated by psychiatrists and psychologists, they help their clients through struggles with mild to moderate anxiety and depression in addition to grief, stress, difficult life transitions (e.g., career), LGBTQ+ specific issues, family conflict, and more.

What are Some Options for Coverage as a Graduate Student or Post Doc?

UBC’s Student Health and Dental Plan (Studentcare) covers $1000 for the 2022/2023 year toward mental health services provided by a registered psychologist or clinical counsellor. Eligible prescription drugs are covered up to 80%. All students, including international students, who pay AMS fees are automatically covered. Refer to the UBC Studentcare website for updated information regarding extended health coverage.


BC’s Medical Services Plan (MSP) covers services from psychiatrists and other physicians, in addition to many medications. You can ask your psychiatrist or GP about which medications are covered and download the Wellbeing Resource Folder for more information on coverage.

Please click here to access more resources for mental wellbeing.

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