Our team at Surrey Memorial Hospital cares for youth (12-17 inclusive) who require a stay in hospital because of a serious mental health concern.

The Adolescent Psychiatric Unit (APU) is a secure area for young patients within Surrey Memorial Hospital. It has a TV lounge, outdoor patio, communal kitchen and dining room, as well as a mix of private and shared rooms.

Services include:

  • A psychiatric assessment for the youth’s specific mental health symptoms. If the team decides that assessments specific for emotional and psychological functioning are required, that may also happen during their hospital stay.
  • Treatment, including learning skills and counselling, for both the youth and family may be provided individually, in group settings, and in family meetings.
  • A care team that organizes physical activities, including getting out of the hospital for periods of time. On the unit there are group activities to promote social interaction and learning as well as creative projects to help promote healthy leisure activity and life skills.
  • A classroom/school program that supports youth in continuing with their school work. This classroom setting helps to create a normal day to day routine and support the youth to attend school regularly. This program also helps to assess the youth’s education needs for when they are discharged from the hospital.

Why does a youth need to stay in the hospital for a mental health concern?

A youth may need to stay in hospital if they are:

  • Immediate danger of harming themselves or others
  • Having a hard time doing normal teenage activities, such as attending school or being in healthy relationships, because of changes in mood, thoughts or behaviour
  • Experiencing changes in symptoms of an existing mental health concern such as:
    • Feeling sad or afraid a lot of the time
    • Losing interest in activities
    • Thoughts about hurting themselves or others
    • Hearing voices and or other symptoms of psychosis
    • Having trouble thinking or communicating clearly

What happens once a youth is admitted?

  • The first step is for the youth to be assessed by our care team of psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, counsellors and others. This will give the youth and their family/guardian a better understanding of what is happening with them.
  • Once the assessment is complete, the team will recommend a treatment plan for  the youth.
  • The team will also develop a safety plan with the youth to help them manage difficult thoughts and feelings. The youth will learn how to cope with difficult thoughts and feelings, and encouraged to practice these skills while they are in the hospital and once they are sent home.
  • Before the youth is sent home, the care team will connect them and their families to health care providers in the community who will continue to provide ongoing support as needed.   

When can the youth go home?

We expect most youth to stay in the adolescent psychiatric unit for two to four weeks.

During this time, most of our young patients will spend time at home on weekends and some evenings to practice their new coping skills and prepare to go home.

To ensure that the youth has a successful and positive experience, away from the hospital, the decision to spend time at home is made by the youth, family/guardian, and the treatment team.

The team will also identify further supports needed by the youth and their family/guardian to ensure they successfully recover at home. These supports are customized to the youths and family/guardian needs, and often include linking to mental health resources in your community.



Referrals can be initiated by Child and Youth Mental Health (MCFD), early psychosis intervention (EPI) program, CAPSU (Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Stabilization Unit) and require an accompanying psychiatric assessment/consultation.

When there is no access to a psychiatrist in the community, the referring agency should consult with APU.



  • Kelty Mental Health
    Provincial resource centre that provides mental health and substance use information, resources, and peer support to children, youth and their families from across B.C.
  • Foundry
    Helps youth and young adults in B.C. check out how they’re feeling and quickly connect to mental health resources and support. Support includes education, self-care tools, website links, and assistance in connecting to local professional resources.
  • Child, youth and young adult apps
    Apps available to support your loved one's mental health.

Location(s) offering this service

Surrey Memorial Hospital
13750 96th Avenue