Youth Forensic Psychiatric Services
Youth who are in custody or under community supervision may also be referred for mental health assessment and treatment. Usually this is because of:
- Mental illness or behaviour problems
- Involvement in violent or sexual offences
In B.C. two types of Forensic Psychiatric Service are available to youth involved in the criminal justice system. These are delivered through eight specific outpatient clinics located in B.C.'s major urban centres.
One half of referrals for assessment services are court-ordered. Medical, psychiatric or psychological assessments (called “forensic assessments”) are sometimes ordered by the court to help with sentencing. A forensic assessment is different from other kinds of psychiatric or psychological assessments because:
- The goal is to provide a medical, psychiatric or psychological assessment to help the court make a decision – the primary purpose is legal, not medical or psychological
- There is no therapeutic relationship between the psychologist or physician and the young person
The other half of Assessment referrals are made by probation officers and/or custody services to either assist in case management or help determine treatment goals.
Mental health professionals deliver a number of treatment services in B.C. to youth who suffer from a mental illness. These include, but are not limited to:
- Cognitive-behavioural therapy
- Functional family therapy
- General mental health services
Specialized treatment is also available to youth who have been convicted of sexual or violent offences and are at risk of repeating their behaviour. These services are also available by referral or court order. All are offered at outpatient clinics or youth custody centres.
Additional Mental Health Services
The Burnaby Inpatient Assessment Unit (IAU) is a is a Youth Forensic Psychiatric Service that doubles as a mental health facility and a place of temporary custody that provides:
- Assessment and treatment services for troubled youth when a court orders it
- Short-term care and custody of young people found not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder, or not fit to stand trial
The Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre is an accredited facility that offers specialized programs and services to address the needs of young people (aged 12 to 17 years old) who have a lot of mental health concerns or troubling behaviour. Please note that The Maples does not provide emergency or acute psychiatric care – visit your local hospital for help in these situations.