Emergency & Hospital Care

In the event of immediate risk of harm to self or others, please call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest emergency department.

For emotional support or assistance, call the Vancouver Island 24 Hour Crisis Line: 1-888-494-3888.

For free health advice, 24/7, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1

Emergency Departments

The following emergency departments have dedicated Mental Health and Substance Use services:

Psychiatric Emergency Services

Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) are specialized care units within hospital emergency departments that provide support for individuals aged 17 and over who are experiencing a psychiatric crisis related to mental health and/or substance use.

These services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the hospitals below.

All emergency departments support care for those aged 16 and under. For more information, visit Children & Youth Services


PES units are available in these hospital emergency departments:

Services provided:
  • Specialized assessment, crisis management and initiation of treatment
  • Short-term crisis intervention and stabilization
  • Symptom management and recovery planning
  • Referral to the most appropriate level of care
  • Safety and discharge planning
Acute Inpatient Psychiatric Services

Acute psychiatric hospitalization provides short-term assessment and treatment services to individuals experiencing symptoms of severe mental illness. Upon admission, the inpatient care team provides acute care services and explores appropriate community supports and referrals post hospital discharge. 

Services provided:
  • Stabilization of acutely ill patients
  • Assessment by a team of health care providers
  • Personalized care and treatment plans
  • Follow-up and connection with community-based resources

Admission to inpatient care is based on recommendation by the clinical care team. 

Acute Intoxication

Emergency departments may not be the best place for people experiencing acute intoxication. Island Health funds community-based Sobering and Assessment Centres to support people with recovery from acute intoxication. For more information, visit Substance Use Bed-Based Services.

Addictions Medicine Consult Service

The Addiction Medicine Consult Service (AMCS) supports physicians and care teams by providing consultation for any patient on an inpatient unit with known or suspected substance use disorder and/or who are experiencing harm due to their substance use.

The purpose is to strengthen a patient’s assessment, treatment and discharge plan when substance use may interfere with patient care.  

Services provided
  • Management of difficult withdrawal symptoms
  • Substance use treatment initiation during hospitalization
  • Connection to community-based treatment resources for discharge
  • Individualized care and treatment planning
  • Acute care support during treatment
  • Referrals to treatment, case management, community programs and opioid agonist treatment
How to access AMCS

Referral to AMCS is required from the individual’s in-hospital care team.

General Information on Emergency & Hospital Care

Referral Required?
Not required

News & Events

Crisis response team and community café win 2024 mental health and substance use awards

Crisis response team and community café win 2024 mental health and substance use awards

In conjunction with Mental Health Week (May 6-12), Island Health is recognizing two groups for their efforts to help people experiencing mental health and substance use challenges.

Read more

royal jubilee

Young Adult Mental Health Unit established at Royal Jubilee Hospital

A new Young Adult Mental Health Unit at Royal Jubilee Hospital is providing specialized and age-appropriate care for young adults experiencing acute mental health challenges.

Read more

Campbell River

Medical detox services coming to Campbell River

Detox offers medical care and oversight in a secure environment.

Read more