We will send you a link to our online forms. Please complete all forms with as much information as you can, as soon as possible. The information will help us provide the best care possible for your child or youth. It is very helpful for older children and teens to complete their section of the forms as well. If requested, please email, fax, mail or bring in all relevant medical and mental health reports. You may be asked for school reports, individual education plans, psychology assessments, or any other relevant medical documents that are not already in your child's BCCH hospital record.
We want your appointment to be comfortable for you and your child. If you have concerns about the appointment, please let us know ahead of time (for example, if you are worried your child might get anxious or upset). We will work with you and your family to make sure your appointment goes as smoothly as possible.
In the time leading up to your appointment, if things get worse, please talk to your family doctor or community care provider. If there is a major change, ask them to call our clinic to discuss. If you have any safety concerns, please go to your local hospital Emergency Room (ER) or Child and Youth Mental Health (CYMH) Intake Clinic.
If you have any other questions or concerns, please call our mental health reception line at 604-875-2010 and speak to one of our intake clerks or nurse practitioners.
Only one family member living with the child may attend an in person appointment (during COVID-19). But, we value input from all adults that care for the child and may arrange a time for a virtual meeting with other caregivers. If the assessment is virtual, it is best to have all adult caregivers available for the first appointment (for example, all parents, foster parents or legal guardians). If this isn't possible, we may book a time for a virtual meeting with other caregivers, as appropriate.
For the first appointment, we usually see children and youth with a parent or caregiver. We also interview the child separately. Young children may not have a separate interview and older teens may be seen on their own for much of the assessment. We may also interview parents and caregivers separately during the first appointment or at a follow-up meeting.
The first appointment may take from 1 ½ to 2 hours. In some cases, it takes several appointments to complete the assessment.
If your child or youth needs something to do during the appointment, please bring your own toys to in-person visits, and have them available and close by during virtual visits. It is normal for many children and youth to play, draw or use toys during the interviews. Play and drawing are often part of the assessment process. Sometimes a child or youth will want to use a personal electronic device during the appointment. That can be useful at times, like when they are waiting while a parent or caregiver is interviewed. But, these devices should not be used while the child or youth is being interviewed unless it is discussed with the clinic ahead of time.
When the assessment is complete, we discuss the results with you, the child or youth, and the family. We answer any questions and usually provide a diagnosis. We also recommend treatment options with suggestions for where this might take place. Treatment is usually provided by health care providers in your community.
We do offer a small number of group treatment programs and educational sessions for specific mental health concerns. You can ask us if there are any group treatment options for you or your child.
We will complete a report for your child's hospital chart and send copies to your family doctor and other members of your health care team. If you would like a copy of the report, please tell us.
The treatments we recommend are specific to you or your child. They are based on the assessment and your goals and preferences. Treatments may include:
Mental health treatment in BC and the Yukon is usually provided by family doctors and pediatricians. They work along with mental health teams and community agencies that receive public funding, as well as with some providers that charge fees, like psychologists, social workers, and registered clinical counsellors.
Our team will likely give you recommendations for follow-up care. You can also consult with the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre for help choosing the best option for your child and family.
Some children and youth are offered therapy with our programs. Group therapy includes other patients with one or more health care providers. Family members may also be present or in a separate group that meets at the same time. A variety of therapies may be used over the course of treatment.
If medication is needed, we will recommend a schedule to your community care provider that best manages a mental illness with the least side effects. In some complex cases, your psychiatrist may prescribe the medication and follow up with your child to see how the medication is working. When your child is stable, your community care provider (family doctor, pediatrician, nurse practitioner, psychiatrist) will take over prescribing.
Our health care teams may make recommendations to families (or schools, with your consent) on how to help your child in the school setting. This may include writing a letter of support, having meetings, providing specific suggestions on managing the mental illness, involving a school counsellor, and providing ideas and resources for the classroom teacher or other ways to support your child's educational, social and emotional needs. The team may also recommend further assessment.
Our department offers a range of family education events and groups. There are also parent groups that offer support and a chance to learn new skills and connect with other parents with similar experiences.
Our health care teams work with children and their families to come up with a plan for treating and managing mental illness. This plan actively involves:
- the child or youth and family members
- the child's community health care provider
- the health care team at the hospital
As part of treatment planning, we will make recommendations about everyday life that have can support mental health, such as:
- connecting with supportive friends and adults
This specialized program is for children and youth up to the age of 18 with metabolic complications related to their mental health disorder and treatment, including:
- significant weight gain
- high blood pressure
- abnormal lipid profile
- increase in insulin and blood sugar levels
The program focuses on the strategies that will be most effective in your particular home and community.
For educational information about specific disorders, peer support and
resources, please visit the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre website