Psychiatric Facilities

  1. What is a “psychiatric facility”?

    A psychiatric facility is a place for the observation, care and treatment of people suffering from a mental health issue.

  2. I want to go to a psychiatric facility because I’m feeling suicidal or really need help right away – how do I do this?

    Unless you have been found to be incapable, you can make the decision to go to a hospital on your own. However, the hospital does not have to take you in unless they agree that you need their help.

  3. Can I be put in a psychiatric facility if I don’t want to go?

    Maybe. No matter how old you are, if someone (for example, a parent, friend, relative, police officer, doctor or teacher) thinks that one or more of the following situations is happening, you may be put in a psychiatric facility:

    • you have harmed yourself or someone else, or
    • you have threatened to cause harm to yourself or another person; or
    • you have shown or are showing an inability to take care of yourself (for example, walking outside in shorts during a snowstorm, not eating, or walking in traffic).

    You could also be admitted if you have been found incapable, and in the past you received helpful treatment for a similar mental issue which, if not treated this time, will likely lead to you causing serious harm to yourself or someone else or lead to you getting worse.

    If you are kept in a facility against your wishes for any of these reasons, you are considered to be an involuntary patient.

  4. How long can I be forced to stay in a psychiatric facility?

    It depends. Doctors can sign different Forms to keep you in hospital:

    If a doctor signs a Form 1, you can be kept in the facility for up to 72 hours so that the hospital can assess your condition. The doctor may then decide that you can leave.

    After that, if the doctor thinks you should not leave and you are not willing to stay, a doctor can sign a Form 3, which is called a Certificate of Involuntary Admission. This allows the facility to keep you there for up to 2 more weeks.

    After that, if the doctor thinks you should still stay and you don’t want to, the doctor can sign a Form 4, which is called a Certificate of Renewal. The first time a Form 4 is signed, you can be kept up to 1 month. The second time, you can be kept up to 2 more months. The third time, you can be kept up to 3 more months.

    After that, every Form 4 means you can be kept in the facility for up to 3 more months.

  5. Can I appeal a Form?

    You cannot appeal a Form 1. However, you can appeal a Form 3 or 4 to the Consent and Capacity Board.

    A Rights Advisor from the Psychiatric Patient Advocates Office must visit you each time a Form 3 or 4 is signed to explain your right to appeal and ask if you want to appeal. Even if you decide to not appeal when the Rights Advisor visits you, you can change your mind later and ask to see the Rights Advisor again.

    The Rights Advisor can help you apply for Legal Aid so that you can have a lawyer for your appeal. If you are under 16 and go to the hearing without a lawyer, the Consent and Capacity Board may ask the Office of the Children’s Lawyer to appoint a lawyer to represent you.

  6. When can I leave the psychiatric facility?

    If you are a voluntary patient, you can leave anytime. If you are an involuntary patient you must stay until:

    • your doctor gives you permission to leave; or
    • the Consent and Capacity Board says you can leave; or
    • you are no longer an involuntary patient, for example, if a Form 3 or 4 expires and a new form is not completed, then you are considered a voluntary patient.
  7. Can my parents put me in a psychiatric facility even if I don’t want to go?

    If you are under 16 and you have been found incapable, your parents or other substitute decision maker can agree to you being admitted to a psychiatric facility so that you can get treatment. However, you cannot be forced to stay.

    If you are 16 and over, you have been found incapable, and you don’t want to be admitted to a psychiatric facility, your parents cannot agree to your admission to hospital unless they are:

    • your court-appointed guardian of the person,
    • if they have the appropriate power; or
    • your attorney for personal care.
  8. Can I appeal if I’ve been found incapable and my substitute-decision maker consented to my admission?

    If you are under 12, no.

    If you are between 12 and 15, sort of. You cannot appeal the decision made by someone else to admit you to a psychiatric facility. But you can apply to the Consent and Capacity Board to determine whether you need “observation, care and treatment in a psychiatric facility.” Because the board will consider your views and wishes it is important to tell the people close to you what your views and wishes are especially if you do not want to be in a psychiatric facility. You can make this application as soon as you arrive at the psychiatric facility. You can also apply every 3 months. A hearing will be held every 6 months even if you do not apply. You can have a lawyer at the hearing.

    If you are 16 or older, yes. You can apply to the Consent and Capacity Board to challenge someone else’s decision to admit you to the facility for treatment.