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Child and adolescent mental health services
Nearly one in five Ontario children under the age of 19 experiences a mental, emotional or behavioural disorder that is severe enough to seriously affect their daily functioning at home, school or within the community. The good news is that early diagnosis and treatment lead to better outcomes for children later in life.
At Grand River Hospital, our child and adolescent mental health services strive to provide improved patient access and reduced wait times for better patient care outcomes.

Child and adolescent inpatient unit (CAIP)

The regional inpatient unit consists of 13 secure beds dedicated to children and adolescents under the age of 18 who live anywhere within the Waterloo-Wellington counties.

Our inpatient services are located within a beautiful, bright environment with a therapeutic focus on short-term assessment and stabilization for children and adolescents presenting with severe and acute mental health symptoms. Our goal is to complete a comprehensive assessment, initiate treatment and provide recommendations for follow-up to the patient, family and children’s mental health care providers. The inpatient services consist of a multidisciplinary team of child psychiatrists, social workers, child and youth workers and nurses.

While under care on our inpatient services, patients are expected to participate in activities such as academic study time, and as well to attend group programs that take place throughout the day. Our daily programs focus on social skills such as anger management, communication skills, coping skills and relaxation techniques.

Urgent response clinic
The child and adolescent mental health services urgent response clinic is a new service at GRH. This service, which operates Monday to Friday, provides short term outpatient crisis intervention services (maximum of three sessions) for patients who have presented in a mental health crisis, to the emergency department, and require follow up outpatient services. This outpatient service is a service offered to children, and adolescents, under the age of 19 who live in the Region of Waterloo, who present with a high risk for harm to self and/or others, such as any one of the following:
Suicidal/homicidal thoughts without intent or plan but with:
  • History of past rapid decompensation,
  • Marked psychosocial stressors,
  • Significant illness complexities,
  • Acute psychiatric impairment i.e. signs of manic, psychosis, severe depression that if not urgently evaluated may result in acute decompensation or risk to self/others.

The referral to the urgent response clinic is made by the emergency crisis worker in the emergency department. Referrals may also be considered for patients who have presented in a mental health crisis to a family physician and could benefit from an urgent consultation. Referrals from family physicians or pediatrician must be made while patient is present with appointment time provided (if available) prior to leaving physician’s office.

Multidisciplinary assessment clinic
Our child and adolescent mental health services provide comprehensive assessments for children and adolescents who are currently engaged with a children’s mental health care provider and it is determined that treatment outcomes will benefit from a formulated assessment. This service, which operates Monday to Friday, is offered to children and adolescent under the age of 19 who live in the Region of Waterloo. Our assessment team is comprised of psychologists and social workers.

Referral to services is primarily by family physician or pediatrician. This service is meant for any child or adolescent who present with all the below:

Signs/symptoms suggestive of a psychiatric diagnosis, such as:
• Significant impairment of their functioning in home or school settings:
• Potential to evolve to a more urgent level of need, or experience further functional deterioration if not assessed:
• Magnitude of the problem is clearly exceeding the ability of the parent/caregiver to manage:
• Community based children’s mental health services have been accessed, and have not been able to resolve the issue adequately:
• The child/family are willing to attend assessment appointments and consider clinical input from all the professionals that are involved in the assessment.

Please remember to discuss referral with the patient and family.

Young adult program (YAP)
The young adult program service is operated as a partnership service by the Grand River Hospital child and adolescent mental health services and the Waterloo Region Catholic District School Board as a section 21 classroom. The service consists of a team of social workers, a child and youth worker, psychiatry services, and School Board educators.

The young adult program at Grand River Hospital is an educational and therapeutic service that is aimed at re-integrating adolescents into their home school community. The therapeutic component assists adolescents to examine his/her mental health issues as contributing to difficulties with attendance at school and will help with developing strategies for academic coping skills required to reintegrate successfully to the home school in the community. This service is a milieu based therapeutic service, and allows for the patient to participate as a student to work towards one or two academic credits. The young adult program is a time-limited semester length service.

While under care in our young adult program service, patients are expected to participate in activities such as, academic study time (including completion of homework assignments), and as well to attend group programs that take place throughout the day. Our group programs focus on social skills such as life skills, communication skills, coping skills and relaxation techniques, as well as group outings into community settings. I t will also be expected that the adolescent patient participate in individual therapy with a clinician while participating in this service. It is also expected that the parent (s) or guardians attend parent group sessions.

This service, which operates Monday to Friday and follows the Waterloo Region Catholic School Board academic calendar (including PD days, report card dates, as well as holidays) is meant for adolescents primarily between the ages of 16 to 21 years.

Preschool diagnostic and treatment services (PDTS)
Preschool diagnostic and treatment services are targeted o provide consultation, assessment, recommendations and treatment services for preschool age children (age 2.5-5 years) who demonstrate moderate to severe mental health related challenges in two or more environments (eg. Home, school, daycare, preschool, etc) and who have documented completion of a community health care intervention service, after which some or all of the child’s challenges remain unresolved.

While under care in our preschool diagnostic and treatment services , patients and families may access formulation based interventions that require a team approach to care, which may include psychology, social work and/or psychiatry services: parental support and education for children’s mental health issues: and short-term consulting from PDTS staff to the community health care agencies and school boards involved.

Families, physicians and service providers can access mental health services for all preschool children by contacting:

Front Door, 519-749-2932

In collaboration, Front Door and PDTS staff will determine whether support and intervention will be provided by kidsLINK, Lutherwood, or Grand River Hospital PDTS services, or through referral to other community children’s health care service providers.

Learn more about child and adolescent mental health disorders and their signs at

Visitor Information

Visiting hours are as follows:
  • Monday to Friday– 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday – visiting hours are flexible. Please call ahead of time.

Only parents and legal guardians may visit patients. In certain circumstances, staff may restrict visiting privileges, or individuals may not be up for a visit, or you may need to inquire about visiting outside regular visiting hours. Calling in advance can save you time; 519-749-4300 ext. 2144.

Patients, parents/legal guardians or substitute decision makers are given a ‘privacy code’ number which they may share with a couple of people to serve as family spokespeople. When your family and friends call they will be asked for the patient name and privacy code number. This lets staff know that you have given your permission to share general health information about you or your family member. Even without the code, staff may confirm presence and disclose your location unless you say not to.

If you would like to bring a gift, it is best to check with staff first if it is allowed or not recommended. Expensive gifts are not recommended. Some gifts may be ‘unsafe’ for the individual or other patients.

Location and contact information: we are located on the first floor in the F and G wings at GRH’s KW Site.
Nursing station: 519-749-4300 ext. 2144.

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