Mood Disorders Centre of Excellence - UBC Hospital - Vancouver Coastal Health

Mood Disorders
Centre of Excellence

UBC Hospital

Frequent Questions

Q. What services are provided by the Mood Disorders Centre?

We have an active outpatient clinic (Mood Disorders Clinic) that focuses on consultations single-visit assessments and treatment recommendations of adult patients.

Within the clinic, we have programs for seasonal depression (seasonal affective disorder), first episode mania, and treatment-resistant mood disorders. We follow a limited number of patients for brief management (typically 2-3 months), usually in clinical research protocols. The focus of expertise in the MDC is on medication management.

We conduct a number of research studies on the biology of mood disorders, outcomes in depression and bipolar disorder, brain imaging studies of mania and depression, clinical treatment trials, biological and clinical effects of light on mood, genetic studies, group psychotherapy protocols, electroconvulsive therapy, and treatment algorithms.

Q. How long is the wait for an appointment?

We try to see patients in a timely fashion, but there is a waitlist for consultation.

Q. Who can refer to the MDC?

We accept referrals for adult patients (age 18 years and older) from all physicians (family physicians, psychiatrists, other specialists) primarily within the Vancouver Coastal Health region (Vancouver, North Shore, Richmond, and the Sunshine Coast). For second opinions, we limit referrals to psychiatrists or community mental health teams. You can be referred for a second opinion if it has been 6 months since your last visit with your psychiatrist. The referral must come from another psychiatrist.

Q. Which patients can be referred?

To ensure a reasonable wait period for assessment, the MDC limits referrals to patients with a primary mood disorder diagnosis – depression and bipolar disorder (manic-depression).
For psychiatrists wanting to make a referral for a second opinion, the referral must be made at least 6 months after the last psychiatric consultation.

Q. What are exclusion criteria for referral?

We are NOT able to see patients with primary diagnoses of anxiety disorders (panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder) or active alcohol/substance abuse. We are unable to provide on-going counseling or individual psychotherapy. We do not provide medicolegal, disability or insurance assessments. Also, we are not staffed to provide urgent care. If patients require urgent care (e.g., acutely suicidal), they should be directed to appropriate emergency services.

Q. How do I make a referral to the MDC?

Outpatient referrals must be made on our referral form and can be faxed back to the clinic. We also can fax or mail forms to your office. Please call the clinic secretary at 604.822.7512. Our fax number is 604.822.7922. Referrals are screened and accepted/returned within one month.

Q. Who will I see at the MDC?

You will see a psychiatrist (a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness) for assessment. Because we are a teaching hospital, you may also see a health professional student or resident (a physician training to be a psychiatrist). You may also see a nurse, social worker, or research assistant as part of the assessment.

A study coordinator might contact you about research studies in our program. Taking part in research is completely voluntary and will not affect your current or future medical care.

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Q. Why do research on Mood Disorders?

Mood disorders are common medical conditions that affect up to 1 in 7 people at some time in their lives. However, mood disorders are complex illnesses that are affected by genetic, biological, psychological, and social factors. By better understanding these factors, more specific treatments (and ultimately, cures) can be developed.

Q. What kind of research is conducted in the MDC?

All of our research studies are approved by the Clinical Research Ethics Board of the University of British Columbia. Current studies being conducted by researchers on the Mood Disorders Clinical and Research Unit include:

Q. Do all patients take part in studies?

The research studies being conducted on the Mood Disorders Clinical and Research Unit are all voluntary. Patients may choose whether to participate or not, without affecting their medical care.

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