Montreal Pediatric Hospital | Teens in crisis will have their own SPOT

Faced with a wave of teens struggling with mental health counseling, Montreal Children’s Hospital has mobilized its troops in record time and will open SPOT, an outpatient center for 12 to 18-year-olds next Monday.

Posted 18 March

Ariane Lacoursière

Ariane Lacoursière
The print

“For 10 years we have seen a steady increase in the number of young people who consult in a state of suicide crisis. And the pandemic has added a layer to this increase that we have seen for years, ”explains Dr Martin Gignac, head of psychiatry at Montreal Children’s Hospital. If in the early 2000s there were 200 consultations a year, now there are 800 young people in crisis walking through the emergency doors of the Montreal Children’s Hospital. “And there were 1,200 during the height of the pandemic,” observes Dr Gignac.

Montreal Children’s Hospital has eight psychiatric beds to admit these young people. When they overflow, beds from other wards should be used. Hence the idea of ​​thinking about a new way of doing things. “We cannot indefinitely increase the number of psychiatric beds”, comments Dr Gignac showing the premises of the SPOT a The print.

The latter explains that acute crisis patients who pose too great a risk to themselves will continue to be hospitalized.


The Dr Martin Gignac, head of psychiatry at Montreal Children’s Hospital

But for some patients, we can avoid hospitalization by getting them the next day or the next day here.

The Dr Martin Gignac, head of psychiatry at Montreal Children’s Hospital

A personalized following

In this clinic, designed entirely to satisfy the tastes of adolescents, an entire team of professionals will take care of these young people for a period of 12 weeks of intensive care. Crisis resolution seminars will be organized. Individual, group and family consultations. “Every young person will have a case manager to adjust the follow-up,” says Dr Gignac.

The goal: to alleviate the suicidal crisis and provide techniques to facilitate the management of long-term psychological distress. As the services are offered externally, adolescents will be able to continue attending school.

The SPOT does not want to replace the community offer in the field of mental health, explains the Dr Gignac. But in the network, particularly in CLSCs, the average waiting time to obtain services is six months. “Services are set up more or less quickly, depending on your geography,” says the Dr Gignac. So much so that about “20% of adolescents in crisis treated in the emergency room of Montreal Children’s Hospital return within 30 days in a new state of crisis, including those who have been able to access follow-up services in the community”. indicates the facility in a press release.


The Dr Martin Gignac, chief of psychiatry at Montreal Children’s Hospital, and Renée Vézina, president of the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation

The SPOT project will cost $ 12 million and run for 10 years. Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation President Renée Vézina points out that the project was made possible after several donors quickly agreed to support it, including RBC and the Amiel Family Foundation, which will each provide $ 2 million. “It took six months to raise the funds and six months to do the construction,” she cheers.

“I learned to face everything”

Simone Aslan, 20, was admitted to the Montreal Children’s Hospital at the age of 15 for suicidal thoughts. “I still have difficult days, but I have learned to deal with everything,” he says. Since then involved with the hospital, she believes that SPOT will surely help young people in need.

Because I’m lucky to have a family that was able to quickly pay me for private psychological services. But that’s not exactly the case for everyone.

Simone Aslan, 20 years old

The young woman, who points out that “everyone knows someone who has mental health problems”, also believes that the fact that young people will only have to go to one place to receive immediate and complete reception is a considerable advantage. “Because knowing where to go to access mental services can sometimes feel overwhelming,” she says.

Over the next 10 years, the SPOT project will be closely followed by Dr Gignac and other researchers. “We have 10 years to prove it works,” he says.

Do you need help for yourself or a loved one?

Health information: 811

Childcare Telephone: 1 800 668-6868; free online advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for children and teenagers

Suicide Action Montreal: 1 866 CALL (1 866 277-3553)

Learn more

  • Up to 1000
    Number of patients who can be followed each year at SPOT


    Increase in the number of young people who consulted the emergency room of Montreal Children’s Hospital for psychosocial or psychological problems from 2020 to 2021


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