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Inpatient Mental Health Services

The inpatient mental health services at BC Children’s Hospital provide psychiatric assessment, short-term individual, family and group treatment, and psychiatric medication review.
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Who we treat

We have inpatient mental health services for children and youth up to the age of 18 from BC or the Yukon. Access to BC Children's Hospital inpatient mental health services requires a referral. 

Usually children and youth who access our services have already accessed mental health services in their own communities and need further intensive services.

Services we offer

  • Consultation
    All referrals are reviewed by the pre-admission team. We consult with community health care providers and their participation is required as part of admission.
  • Assessment
    Assessment will be done by members of our team and may include psychiatry, nursing, psychology, occupational therapy, speech and language pathology, social work, and special education.
  • Diagnosis
    We will provide assessment and diagnostic clarification. 
  • Treatment
    Your child's treatment may be individual, family and group work in a therapeutic setting. Their treatment may also include medication trail and review. 
  • Education/family support
    As a parent or caregiver you play a significant role in the treatment of your child and their transition back hoe. We provide family assessment, intervention, support and education.
  • School program
    Education support will be provided to your child during the school year. This support includes assessment and strategies for your child to use in the classroom, and to support their success in the community.
  • Transition to and from community
    We provide services through our pre-care and post-care teams to help you, your family and your child return to your home community.

Evaluation and care of our patients and families is provided by an interprofessional team including nurses, psychiatric nurses, youth and family counsellors, family resource clinicians, social workers, pharmacists, psychologists, occupational therapists, dietitians, teachers, psychiatrists and other disciplines as needed. Our assessment and treatment process requires active participation by you, your child, your family, your care providers and community partners.

We may have research projects going on while your child is at the Mental Health Program at BC Children's Hospital. You will be informed of any research that is underway. You and your child's participation in any research is always voluntary.


To learn more about our research visit the Child & Family Research Institute.

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


Preparing for treatment

The pre-care program provides individual assessment, consultation with the referrer, and education for you and your family regarding inpatient admission.

Once your child has been accepted to our inpatient services you and your family will be assisted by one of our pre-care team members who will provide as much information as possible.

Each family's admission path looks different. Your child's admission may be voluntary or involuntary for more information see BC's Mental Health Act in Plain Language.

During treatment

Many of the children and youth we work with have severe or ongoing challenges. We do not expect for all of their challenges to be resolved completely during their admission. Our goal is to complete a comprehensive assessment, begin treatment and provide recommendations for follow-up treatment and care once they have returned to their home community.

Our inpatient units use the principles of trauma-informed care and engagement. We provide a therapeutic environment based on recovery and learning and where access to mental health professionals is provided around the clock.

Therapy and interventions

Therapy and interventions will be decided on based on your child's ongoing assessment and may include:

  • Specific interventions based on your child's diagnosis
  • Individual counselling
  • Group meetings
  • Medication management
  • School
  • School planning
  • Psycho-education
  • Family therapy
  • Family support groups
  • Treatment planning
The interventions provided to you, your child and your family are focused on the strategies that will be most effective in your home environment.


Your child will participate in daily programming Monday through Friday. This schedule includes school, social skills groups, recreation activities, healthy living and community outings.

Evenings and weekends are less structured. Activities and outings may be planned by our staff, some children and youth may have visitors, and others may be out on a pass. 

Evening and weekend passes

Evening and weekend passes are part of the assessment process and allow you, your child and your family the opportunity to practice the skills you have learned. These passes will be discussed and decided upon by you and your child's care team on your child's admission and before weekends.

As part of this process you, your child and your care team will set weekend goals. Once your child has returned from the weekend the goals will be reviewed and a discussion of how the weekend went will be completed with our staff.

Length of stay

Your child's stay can vary from a few days to several weeks. 

After treatment

Planning for your child's discharge begins at admission. The pre-care and post-care teams are available for information and support throughout your child's stay.

As your time with us comes to an end, our team will meet with you to share what we have learned about your child and future recommendations. A discharge planning session will be scheduled. During this time we will share our findings with you and your home community team. We will all work together to create a successful transition plan for you and your child.

There is also a post-discharge care team available to provide ongoing support to you, your family, and the community team. 



BC Children's Hospital campus map

Enter BC Children's Hospital from Oak Street. Take an immediate right and follow the road until you see entrance #85 on your left hand side. You have arrived at the Health Minds Building. 

Visiting opportunities

BC Children's hospital inpatient mental health services are family-centred services. You and your family are encouraged to visit your child and participate in all aspects of the program including: family teaching sessions, multi-family groups and outings with the patients. Talk to your child's care team for more information.

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