Building a partnership between emergency services and youth mental health services in BC

Research co-leads: 

Research user co-lead:

  • Dr. Frank Scheuermeyer
    Providence Health Care

Team members: 

  • Dr. David Barbic
    University of British Columbia, BC Emergency Network, Centre for Health Evaluation & Outcome Sciences 
  • Dr. Steve Mathias
    Inner City Youth Program, St. Paul's Hospital, University of British Columbia, Infant, Child, and Youth Mental Health and Addictions Regional Program, Vancouver Coastal Health, Centre for Health Evaluation & Outcome Sciences 
  • Pam Liversidge
  • Tara Beaulieu
    University of British Columbia, British Columbia Centre on Substance Use

In Canada, there has been a profound disconnect between emergency services and mental health services for youth and young adults. Recent evidence suggests that more than half of Canadian youth and young adults presenting to an Emergency Department (ED) with mental health and substance use (MHSU) needs have not had any previous mental health-related contact with the health care system.

In BC, the opioid epidemic has compounded this crisis, with youth and young adults accounting for 20-25% of all opioid-related overdoses and deaths. From coast to coast, there is an immediate need to improve referral to integrated youth and young adult services to limit repeated ED visits and hospitalization for MHSU disorders and to promote the health and well-being of this population. The goal of our work is to build a partnership in BC between a network of EDs and an integrated youth and young adult health services network called Foundry.

Specifically, we propose to coalesce a group of patients and their family, service providers, clinicians, and physicians for a one-day workshop to inform the development of an intervention (ED2Foundry) designed to improve the linkages between EDs and community health services for youth and young adults with MHSU concerns.