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Acute Inpatient Day Hospital and Emergency Care (AIDE)

The Psychiatry Acute Inpatient, Day Hospital and Emergency Care (AIDE) program provides short-term mental health care for youth who are in acute crisis.

Inpatient program

The SickKids inpatient program consists of a three bed short-stay unit for children and youth ages 6 to 17 who present to the SickKids emergency room with mental health issues and require admission to the hospital. Children and youth are admitted through the emergency room or transferred from other units, on a voluntary basis. Children and youth are admitted for crisis situations such as suicidal thoughts or for mental health symptoms such as psychosis and mood concerns. The focus of the unit is on assessment and stabilization of the mental health crisis as well as working with the youth and family on strategies to address safety concerns. 

The inpatient unit is a voluntary unit, therefore youth and families must be agreeable to the admission. If a patient is admitted and wants to leave, they may need to be reassessed. If the doctor feels they need to stay in a hospital, they will be transferred to a different hospital with a secure unit when a bed is available.  The inpatient program is a family based program and has parents participating in daily meetings with staff and the youth.

The inpatient program is located on unit 7A, which is shared with the Eating Disorders Program.

Psychiatry day hospital program

AIDE operates a six spot day hospital program for youth ages 12 to 17 years old.  The focus of the day hospital program is on helping youth with mental health illnesses acquire skills to improve their level of functioning.  The day hospital program operates Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and involves group therapy, family meetings, and a Toronto District School Board classroom to allow participants to work on schoolwork while attending the program.

The day hospital provides the following:

  • Transition for youth who have been admitted to an inpatient psychiatric unit prior to returning to school full-time or attending a longer term mental health program.
  • Diagnostic clarification for youth where further observation is required to determine mental health issues or factors contributing to the current presentation.
  • Medication adjustments for youth who require a structured setting for this to occur.
  • Short-term therapeutic interventions for youth who are struggling with anxiety, mood, or psychotic symptoms.

The day hospital does not provide interventions for youth with:

  • school refusal in the absence of other mental health issues
  • oppositional defiant disorder/conduct disorder
  • intellectual disability
  • primary substance abuse or eating disorder (please contact the Substance Abuse or Eating Disorder Program for details about their day hospital programs)
  • behavioural issues in the absence of a mood, anxiety or psychotic disorder
  • acute safety concerns (e.g. actively suicidal)


Currently the day hospital is accepting referrals from SickKids physicians and clinics only. Please contact MHAP for further details.

Medical Director: Dr. Seena Grewal
Clinical Manager: Evelyn Smith

If you have immediate concerns about your child’s mental health please go to your closest emergency medical service.