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If I call 911 in a crisis, will my child be admitted to the hospital?

If the police have transported your child to the Emergency Room (ER), it does not automatically mean they will be admitted for a hospital stay.

A doctor or mental health clinician will assess your child. They may decide that your child needs to stay in the hospital until they stabilize for further care. Or, your child may be sent home after the immediate crisis is taken care of. You should leave with a clear plan and information about services in the community. Please ask questions if you are unsure of what to do next, and make sure the ER staff have heard your concerns.

If your child is admitted to the hospital, this may be a short term stay (for the night or a few nights), until they have stabilized.

If you are sent home and are still concerned for your child’s immediate safety, it is OK to return, or call 911 again.

What if a youth doesn't voluntarily want help? 

Seeing your child struggle with a mental health challenge can be difficult and even more so when they’re not willing or able to seek help.

The Mental Health Act helps someone who is living with a mental illness get the treatment and care they need, when they are not willing to accept it. For your child to be admitted to the hospital involuntarily, a doctor would make an assessment that they meet all 4 of the below criteria:

  1. Have a serious mental health disorder that keeps them from dealing with situations or people around them safely.
  2. Are in need of psychiatric treatment for the mental health disorder in or through a hospital setting
  3. Are in need of help in a hospital setting to prevent the progression of the mental health disorder from getting worse or to stop them from hurting themselves or others.
  4. Will not ask for this help voluntarily. And can’t be admitted voluntarily in case they refuse treatment or try to leave.


Featured Resources:

Mental Health Act Video: Being Certified & Your Rights (BC Children’s Hospital)

Mental Health Act Toolkit: Patient & Family Resources (BC Children’s Hospital)

Your Rights under BC’s Mental Health Act pamphlet  (BC Mental Health Rights)

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