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Adolescent Psychiatry

We provide psychiatry to youth who are experiencing persistent serious psychiatric symptoms such as psychosis, mood disorders, suicidal behaviour or anxiety.
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Who we treat

Adolescent Psychiatry is an inpatient unit for youth age 12 to 18 from BC or the Yukon. 

We expect that patients have already accessed the mental health services in their own home communities and still need psychiatric help. 

You need a referral to use this service. Referrals must include:
  • a recent psychiatric assessment when available
  • before- and after-care support by a health-care provider
  • parent or caregiver involvement
Services we offer

  • Consultation
    We review all referrals with a view to admitting a patient. We consult with community health-care providers and their participation is required as part of the patient's admission to the service.
  • Assessment
    We assess admissions with members of our team in different professions: psychiatry, nursing, psychology, occupational therapy, speech and language pathology, social work and special education.
  • Diagnosis
    Provide assessment and diagnostic clarification.
  • Treatment
    Treatment may be individual, family and group work in a therapeutic setting, and may include medication trials.
  • Education & family support
    We provide family assessment, intervention, support and education.
  • School program
    We provide education support onsite, which includes strategies for use in the classroom to support success in the community. This program is available during the school calendar year.
  • Transition care
    We provide transition services through our pre- and post-care team. Our Bridging the Gap group provides is available to youth up to 6 months after their discharge to help them transition to the community.

Evaluation and care of our patients and families are completed by the interprofessional team including nurses, psychiatric nurses, youth and family counsellors, social workers, pharmacists, psychologists, occupational therapists, teachers, psychiatrists and other disciplines as needed. Our assessment and treatment process requires the active participation of adolescents, their families or care providers and community partners.

Various research projects may be in progress at any given time, all which have been vetted by the Research and Ethics Committee. All patients and families are informed of any research that may be underway.


Student placements and training opportunities are provided to students at all levels and from multiple disciplines including: social work, nursing, occupational therapy, psychology, youth and family counsellors, medicine, psychiatry and pharmacy.



During treatment

Many of the youth we work with have persistent or severe challenges, and we do not expect all their issues to resolve completely during an admission. Instead, our goal is to complete a comprehensive assessment, initiate treatment and provide recommendations for follow-up to the patient, parents and caregivers, and community-care providers.

The adolescent inpatient unit uses the principles of trauma-informed care and the engagement model. It is a therapeutic milieu where (within the context of the inpatient admission) access to mental health professionals is provided around the clock. The milieu provides an environment of recovery and learning. 


Patients participate in a daily program, Monday through Friday. The schedule includes a school program, social skills groups, recreation activities, healthy living, and community outings.

A Parent Support Group is held one evening a week. This provides education, advocacy and support to parents / caregivers.

Evenings and weekends are less structured, but activities and outings may be planned by staff for patients who do not have visitors.

Within the structure of the program, patients and their family meet with the interdisciplinary team and receive individual and family sessions. 

Every patient has a psychiatrist, who manages the Client Service Plan (treatment plan) that is established with each patient and their parents / caregivers. 


Medication may be used, and often medication trials are part of an inpatient admission. There is a pharmacist dedicated to the mental health teams providing ongoing support to the treatment team.

Weekend passes

Weekend passes are part of the assessment process, and allow the youth and parents / caregivers an opportunity to practice skills that that they have learned. Therapeutic passes are decided by the patient’s care team (parents / caregivers are key members of this team). These passes are discussed on admission and prior to weekends. 

The patient, parents / caregivers and team set collaborative weekend goals. Upon return from the weekend, goals are reviewed, and a discussion of how the weekend went is completed with the staff.

Length of stay

The length of stay varies between a few days to several weeks.


The pre-program offers individual assessment, consultation to the referring agent, and education to the youth and parents / caregivers regarding an inpatient admission. If inpatient admission is indicted, the team assists the youth and parents / caregivers in preparing for the admission through a virtual tour or tour of the unit, and providing as much information as possible. 

Based upon the youth’s needs, the path to admission may vary. Admission may be either voluntarily or involuntarily. Depending on your status of admission, you have different rights under the law (Mental Health Act of BC).

After treatment

The Pre- and Post-Care team assist the youth and their parents / caregivers to transition through the inpatient stay. 

Discharge planning begins at admission. Each youth has a discharge planning booklet that includes their community resources. For example, a transition plan may include supported visits to a new school. There is a post discharge group, "Bridging the Gap" that runs for 6 months to support the youth transition back to the community.

The Post-Care team provides ongoing consultation to the community agencies working with the patient and family.



Enter at Gate 3 (Heather Street and 29th Avenue). Go straight ahead and turn left at the first stop sign. We are on the right. Use entrance 85 or 87. Upon entering the building, press buzzer at door and you will be let into the unit.

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