It’s okay to ask for help

Individual Counselling Programs at HIM

These programs are designed by and for self-identified gay, bi, queer men and women (GBQ) and gender-diverse people (including but not limited to: Two-Spirit, non-binary, amongst other gender-diverse identities):

  1. Professional Volunteer Counselling (PVC) Program:The PVC Program at HIM connects you with a counsellor/therapist who has/is going through professional counselling training, psychology or other related credentials on a free or by-donation basis.
  2. HIM Helps (HH) Program: This program offers reduced-cost counselling according to annual income to self-identified gay, bi, queer men and women (GBQ) and gender-diverse people.
  3. Private Referrals: This program connects you to a well-trusted counsellor in their private practice based on your needs and their areas of expertise. Insurance billing and coverage might be available depending on each practitioner.

You can find a list of HIM-trusted mental health counsellors and practitioners here.

About the Professional Volunteer Counselling (PVC) Program:

Feeling the need for some extra support but without any means to pay for counselling? HIM can help you access counselling. The PVC Program at HIM connects you with a counsellor/therapist who has professional counselling, psychology or other related credentials on a free or by-donation basis!  

If you would like to start the counselling process, or learn more about the counselling program at HIM, email the HIM Mental Health Team at [email protected]


Frequently Asked Questions about Volunteer Professional Counselling:


Who's providing these counselling services?

All of our partnered counsellors are at least Master level students pursuing a counselling-related graduate degree. In addition to students pursuing their Master degrees, our mental health team consists of registered mental health practitioners (e.g., Registered Social Worker, Registered Clinical Counsellor, etc.) who employ a variety of styles of psychological interventions. All of HIM partnered counsellors are required to go through a rigorous interview process and have lived experience or professional experiences working with queer and gender diverse communities. Our counsellors aim to create a safe, welcoming environment where you can explore whatever is troubling your psychological/emotional well-being.  


What topics can be addressed in counselling?

  • Counsellors can work with many topics; our team of counsellors and practicum students can work closely with you in some of the following ways:
  • As we are a community-based counselling program, we provide general counselling services for gay, bi, queer men and women (GBQ) and gender-diverse people to explore areas related (but not limited to) queer experiences. Some of the areas we might be able to support you with include:
    – Assessment and diagnosis
    – The prescription of mental health-related medication
    – Specific/Specialized counselling treatment (e.g., detoxification, ADHD, long-term trauma, career counselling, etc.)


How is the service structured?

The HIM PVC program consists of 8, 50-minute-sessions scheduled weekly with a brief, solution-focused therapy approach.  

  • The process begins with an intake interview (not counting as one of the eight sessions) with a HIM staff or intern. The intake interview is a chance for you to talk about what you want to accomplish in your 8 sessions.  
  • After the intake interview, applicants go on our waitlist. The waiting period varies depending on time of the year and capacity, and you will be given an estimate wait time after your intake session (on average it is 8 weeks.)  
  • When a counsellor becomes available, applicants are matched with someone who matches their availability and/or preferences (when possible).  
  • Once you have made a connection with your counsellor, your sessions will be scheduled and you will be able to start. Sessions can take place at HIM health centres or online. Your process will conclude within 8-10 sessions and your counsellor will help you connect to other services that match your needs if needed. You are eligible for the counselling program once per calendar year.  


Am I eligible for the program?

HIM’s Professional Volunteer Counselling program is designed to support people who have low annual income or are otherwise marginalized. If your annual income is high(er), we are happy to provide you with a referral to see a counsellor through our HIM Helps Program, or another referral to a well-trusted counsellor in private practice. Our team members conduct the assessment based on your response to our intake questionnaire. [email protected]


What if I need to talk to someone immediately?

If you are in need of counselling sooner than we can offer, there are some programs that might meet your needs. However, please note that most free/reduced cost counselling programs have an approximate 6-month-wait.

  • If you are able to pay for counselling, you can use the resource on this website to connect with a counsellor that is connected with HIM.
  • Please note that HIM does not provide drop-in or crisis counselling services. If you are experiencing distress, in a crisis, or are in an immediate need for mental health support, please contact one of the resources listed below: Crisis Centre 24/7 phone line 1-800-784-2433
  1. Wellness Together ( 
  2. Virtual Mental Health Supports, Organized by the Government of British Columbia ( 
  3. Interligne ( is a bilingual help and information service based in Montréal, Quebec with a national hotline with chat and text options: 1-888-505-1010 (English & French, 24 hours) 
  4.  Trans Lifeline ( is based in San Francisco, California (CA), and has a Canadian-based hotline number: 1-877-330-6366 (English & Spanish 24/7)  
  5. LGBT National Help Center ( is another support program based in San Francisco, with hotline, chat and text options and other services for the LGBTQPIA+ community: 1-888-843-4564(English, Monday to Friday 1pm to 9pm Pacific Time; Saturday 9am to 2pm Pacific Time) 
  6. Your local hospital’s emergency department 


What if I need to reschedule a session?

We understand the need for flexibility with scheduling. We ask you to respect the time of our volunteer staff by letting us know about schedule changes as early as possible. Missing a session or not providing at least 24 hours’ notice for a schedule change may result in the loss of that session.


What if I need more than 8 sessions?

It is understandable that you might wish to continue with your counsellor at HIM and your counsellor may provide an additional two sessions if the need is great. The reason that HIM has an 8-10 session guideline is to keep the service available to more people in a year. In some cases, you can continue with your counsellor in the HIM Helps Programs (read below for the program description) or their private practice (if they practice privately).  


What if I have a complaint or want to give feedback?

You are welcome to make a complaint or give feedback at any time throughout your counselling program without repercussions or consequences. We will do our best to respond to your feedback in a way that supports your needs and preferences. If you would like to make a complaint or provide feedback, please contact the HIM Mental Health Program Specialist(s) at


Will what I share in the session be shared anywhere else?

You get to choose how much or little you share with your counsellor, though counselling works best when you share fully, openly, and honestly. Our counsellors are skilled at creating a safe and supportive space where no subject is off limits, and confidentiality is an important factor here. Our counsellors follow the current standards of practice for confidentiality in BC, and any documents about you are filed under a secure filing system. There are a few specific circumstances where confidentiality might be broken. This would happen when: 

  • A participant is intending or planning to harm themselves, or another person 
  • A participant reports imminent or current harm of a child/ children  
  • A participant resports imminent or current harm of vulnerable adult(s) 
  • A court issues a subpoena requesting for information 


About the HIM Helps (HH) Program:

Want to connect with a flexible counsellor? HIM wants to make that connection easier! Since fall of 2017 HIM offers the HIM Helps (HH) Program. This program offers reduced-cost counselling according to annual income to self-identified gay, bi, queer men (GBQ) and gender-diverse people. This confidential and professional program is ideal for people with medium to high annual income, or people with insurance coverage. The HIM Helps program was created to: 

  • Increase access to affordable counselling 
  • Build a community of counsellors who are skilled at working with gay, bi, queer men (GBQ) and gender-diverse people 
  • Increase capacity for long-term counselling 
  • Reduce wait-times for all counselling programs at HIM 
  • Incorporate equity in access to our programs 

If this program seems like it might be a good fit for you, please contact: [email protected]


Frequently Asked Questions about HIM Helps Counselling:


Who's providing these counselling services?

Participating counsellors in the HIM Helps program are professional counsellors who HIM considers trusted practitioners for their previous or current involvement with HIM and the communities we serve. HIM Helps counsellors are mental health professionals who has at least completed the requirements of a master’s degree, who has professional liability insurance, and registered with a registered professional association, and/or college. Some designation our counsellors might hold include: Registered Social Workers (RSW), Registered Clinical Counsellors (RCC),  Canadian Certified Counsellors (CCC) and/or Registered Psychologists (RPsych). All HIM Helps counsellors have their own areas of expertise, but all are skilled and experienced, and have demonstrated their understanding and capacity to work with gay, bi, queer men and gender diverse folks through our selection process. These counsellors are able to offer a variety of styles of psychological interventions, and can see clients at the Davie Health Centre, online, or might offer their private practice space. HH counsellors will work with program participants for a rate between $50-$80 per session (Determined by their annual income, see common FAQ below for HIM’s sliding scale).  

If this program seems like it might be a good fit for you, please contact:  [email protected]  


Why not free counselling to everyone?

Progressively, interest in mental health programs and counselling increases in our communities due to more awareness of the importance of mental health. With increased interest, available mental health programs are noticeably saturated, which translates into longer wait-times, and harder access to mental healthcare. At HIM, the HIM Helps program was designed to offer an alternative, and a “middle of the road” option for folks who need counselling and can afford to pay something for it (but perhaps not $120-$150 per session). By offering this program, HIM is able to prioritize folks with low income and higher barriers for the PVC program, reduce its wait-times, and offer an option for folks to access programs that match their income.


Can I use my insurance coverage?

Yes! As opposed to our Volunteer Professional Counselling program, most of our HIM Helps counsellors can issue receipts, which can be claimed through extended health insurance plans and helps you get the most out of them. Each insurance/ practitioner policy might differ, so pleas ensure that your insurance coverage covers certain designation (e.g., RCC but not RSW) prior to beginning your counselling process.


What if I want to see my counsellor long-term?

Since July 2019, we started offering 8-10 sessions under this program to allow space for new folks to come in. This means that if you participate in this program, you can see your counsellor for that period, and then if you feel a good connection with them, you can arrange long term counselling through their private practices.


How do I know how much I have to pay?

  • Folks who have an annual income between $50,000 and 60,000 may pay $50 – $60 per session; 
  • Folks who have an annual income between $60,000 to 70,000 may pay $60 – $70 per session; 
  • Folks who have an annual income of $70,000-80,000 per year may pay $70 – $80 per session. 

Insurance coverage will be considered, and participants who have insurance will pay $80/session regardless of their annual income. Please note that the counsellor that you are offered reserves the right to modify the fee that you are offered (within the margins above). For example, some counsellors are not able to offer a fee as low as $50.  If you are unable to pay the fee that the fee that you are offered, please contact the HIM Mental Health Specialist(s) directly at [email protected] 


What about relationship counselling?


Some of our counsellors are trained in relationship counselling, though not all are available to work with couples all of the time. Please note, we use the term “relationship counselling” to create space for relationships that involve more than two people. When counselling is for more than one person, the sessions are sometimes longer and there is often more work to be done during and in-between sessions.  This means that the cost for relationship counselling is usually higher than individual counselling (Average rates for couples counselling is $180 per session). Rates will be calculated by the following scale: 

  • Folks in the relationship who have a combined annual income of between $100,000-110,000 may pay $100-$110 per session 
  • Folks in the relationship who have a combined annual income of between $110,000-120,000 may pay $110-$120 per session 
  • Folks in the relationship who have a combined annual income of about $120,000-130,000 may pay $120 per session 
  • Folks who have a combined annual income of over $130,000 may not longer be eligible for relationship counselling through the HIM Helps Program. This will be determined on a case by case basis, and will depend on the current capacity of the program. 
  • If the couple has insurance coverage from one or both members of the couple, the rate will be $120 per session. 


What if my income exceeds your sliding scale

We know that Vancouver is expensive, and so the answer to this question may be negotiable. We will do all that we can to make sure that you can access counselling when you need it. However, if your annual income is high, and you have insurance, the HIM Helps program may not be for youHIM Helps counsellors are willing to offer the reduced rate counselling to those who need the opportunity. Our network of counsellors at HIM is strong, and we would be more than happy to help you locate a counsellor who will work with you in their private practice. In fact, you might want to check out our list of trusted counsellors/practitioners here.


Will I be paying HIM, or the counsellor?

100% of the fee that the counsellor charges will go to them. HIM takes no money for this program. Instead, we offer our lovely counselling rooms at no cost the counsellor in exchange for them charging a reduced rateYou will receive invoices and receipts directly from your counsellor.


What if I'm not connecting with my counsellor?

No worries, this happensWe encourage you to speak about this with your counsellor first, and following this, our program specialist(s) can help you connect with another counsellorIf you are not comfortable speaking about this with your counsellor, you can contact the Mental Health Program s=Specialist(s) directly at [email protected] to be re-directed to another counsellor.


Our Trusted Counsellors/Practitioners:

Here is a complete list of the trusted counsellors and practitioners HIM works with. Please feel free to browse through it and explore the counsellors who best match your mental health needs.

HIM honours the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, and the territories of many nations on the west coast of Turtle Island, on whose unceded and stolen land we live and work. As uninvited inhabitants, we acknowledge that this space is and always will be Indigenous land.

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