Proposed changes to the Mental Health Act will improve the care and safety of youth under the age of 19 who are experiencing severe problematic substance use by providing short-term voluntary emergency stabilization care following and overdose.
Government has introduced amendments to the Mental Health Act designed to prioritize the best interest of youth and facilitate better connections to voluntary culturally-safe care. As part of the proposed changes, youth living with severe problematic substance use who are admitted to a hospital following a life-threatening overdose can be admitted for stabilization care for up to 48 hours or until their decision-making capacity is restored, for a maximum of seven days. This short-term emergency care will be provided at hospitals throughout the province where there is an existing designated psychiatric unit or observation unit. The proposed changes to the Mental Health Act will support health-care providers and hospitals to provide medically necessary health care and observation for a youth to recover from an overdose, regain their decision-making capacity and create opportunities to engage with supports and services to treat the problematic substance use. Following the period of stabilization care, youth will be connected to supports and services in the community.