Are You In Crisis?
Help is available:
Call the crisis line at 310-6789 or 1-800-SUICIDE or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.
1. Crisis Lines
The crisis line is confidential, free, and open 24/7 from anywhere in BC. Call the crisis line if you:
- Need emotional support,
- Want information and resources specific to mental health
- Are in emotional distress
- You are considering suicide.
Call one of the distress lines listed below:
Mental Health Support Line (province wide number): 310-6789 (no area code is needed)
1-800-SUICIDE: If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).
TTY (for individuals who are deaf or hearing-impaired): 1-866-872-0133
2. BC Children’s Hospital Emergency Department
BC Children’s Hospital provides emergency care for acute mental health illnesses for children less than 17 years of age who live in Vancouver.
BC Children's Hospital Emergency Services is located at:
4480 Oak Street, Vancouver, BC, V6H 3V4.
Youth aged 17 and above should attend the emergency room at Vancouver General Hospital or their local hospital.
BC Children’s Hospital Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Emergency (CAPE) Unit provides short-stay crisis care for children and youth (through age 16) from BC and the Yukon who are experiencing acute mental health challenges. Access to the CAPE unit is through emergency/hospital services where a psychiatric assessment will determine if immediate hospitalization is required.
How to Know When to Go to the Emergency Room
It can be difficult to know whether to go to the emergency room (ER) when you have bad pain or your pain seems to be increasing. Parents don’t want to see their child in distress and may worry that increasing pain could be a medical emergency. But if you have chronic pain, increasing pain doesn’t necessarily indicate a medical emergency; The ER is not always the best place to go. It is important to understand when to go to the emergency room, and when you are best treated by your family doctor or chronic pain healthcare team.
Go to the ER if you have an acute injury or infection
Emergency room staff are trained to manage many acute emergency issues including acute pain from injury, surgery or acute medical conditions. If you have an acute injury or infection, or a serious mental health crisis, go to the emergency room.
Children and teenagers with chronic pain do get acute infections and injuries that may cause pain to worsen. If a new acute injury or infection is suspected then it is a good idea to go to your family doctor, a walk-in clinic or the emergency room.
Chronic Pain & the ER
Chronic pain is not the same as acute pain. Chronic pain is diagnosed when the medical history, physical examination and subsequent investigations have ruled out a significant medical cause for the pain. Chronic pain is managed differently to acute pain and often does not respond to the medications given in emergency rooms to successfully treat acute pain, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil) or morphine-like drugs.
Chronic pain requires a “3P” (psychology / physiotherapy / pharmacology) approach to management, where the focus is a gradual return to normal function with less focus on medications. There is no quick fix. It takes time, practice and motivation to achieve goals.
The emergency room will not be able to treat a bad bout of chronic pain, i.e. a flare-up. Pain flare-ups need to be resolved with the help of the chronic pain healthcare team. A plan needs to be in place to successfully prevent and manage pain flare-ups when and if they occur. In the course of the chronic pain journey a child, or teenager and their family, can usually discern the difference between a pain flare-up and a new or different problem.
About the ER at BC Children’s Hospital
BC Children’s Hospital provides emergency care for acute medical, surgical and mental health illnesses or injuries for children less than 17 years of age who live in Vancouver. Youth aged 17 and above should attend the emergency room at Vancouver General Hospital or their local hospital.