Call Out for Psychiatrists to Address Potential Surge in Demand for Mental Health Services



Dear colleagues,

In the wake of the current public health emergency unfolding in BC, the Department is working with the Regional Psychiatry Heads of Health Authorities to plan for a coordinated emergency response by our mental health practitioners to a potential surge in demand for mental health services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The type of work may range from providing virtual care to assessing and providing care for patients in the ED and in-patient settings.

As an integral part of this effort, I am calling out, on behalf of UBC Psychiatry and the Regional Heads of all Health Authorities in BC, to all psychiatrists, including those in office-based practice and those psychiatrists who have recently (within 2 years) retired, to work in our health authorities in locum capacity in order to help with the potential surge in demand for mental health services should the need arise.

For those who do not have active registration, the BC College has agreed to provide free emergency temporary registration. All the Health Authorities are finalizing the processes to ensure that the credentialing and privileging process is expedited for emergency locum privileges, and this will be valid until the COVID-19 pandemic has officially ended.

If you are interested in contributing to this effort, please contact Vicky Yau, Director of Administraton, at to let her know and also indicate which health authority and hospital you might be interested in working at.

I believe that we can all step in and each do our part to address the anticipated mental health consequences of this pandemic, and most importantly, to help ease some of the incredible burden facing those on the frontlines who are treating the immediate physical manifestations of COVID-19.  I wish you all continued health and wellbeing, and want to thank you in advance for your ongoing support and resolve during these challenging times.



Dr. Lakshmi N. Yatham, Professor and Head, UBC Department of Psychiatry