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Who we are

The Department of Psychiatry at the Montreal Children’s Hospital (MCH) has existed for more than 60 years. It was the first psychiatry department in Canada to provide services for adolescents, and many leading child psychiatrists in both Canada and the United States were trained there. Special emphasis was placed on caring for marginalized and underprivileged children and families. The department gradually became part of McGill University’s Department of Psychiatry, eventually becoming the Division of Child Psychiatry, which comprises the child psychiatry departments at the CIUSSS Centre-Ouest (Jewish General Hospital) and the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île (Douglas Mental Health University Institute), and at the Montreal Children’s Hospital (MUHC-MCH).

Our mission 

Our mission is to provide services to children and their families from a perspective of excellence and leadership in mental health, and to promote a culture of excellence, innovation, and continuing education. 

Our team

Department head: Dr. Martin Gignac

Clinical administrative manager: Marie-Ève Despa, B.Sc.N

Staff psychiatrists:

The multidisciplinary teams in the outpatient clinics and on the units are made up of psychologists, psychiatry residents, social workers, special education technicians, nurse clinicians,  psychotherapists, teachers, and occupational therapists.

Programs and services

Inpatient Unit B7 South

At the Montreal Children’s Hospital, we have eight acute care beds on the inpatient unit. We offer specialized services for the general public and we often receive consultation requests from across Quebec, including the James Bay and Hudson Bay territories.

The multidisciplinary teams work together to assess and treat children and adolescents, while taking their family situation and dynamics into account. We work with partners in the community to promote continuity of care and improve the quality of life for those with significant mental health issues.

Treatment plans include a combination of individual psychotherapy, behaviour management, family therapy or counselling, intervention and liaison with the school, and pharmacological treatment, if necessary. Individualized treatment plans focus on the safety of each patient during the hospital stay and are determined in close conjunction with the families and external resources.

Consultation-liaison service

The consultation-liaison service assesses and treats childhood and adolescent mental illnesses associated with medical conditions, as well as psychosomatic disorders.

The child psychiatrist first performs a psychiatric assessment based on the facts presented by the attending medical team regarding the patient’s complex mental and physical health problems; this service is offered to pediatric inpatients.

Emergency services:

Mental Health Emergency Room Team (MHERT): a child psychiatrist, a psychiatry resident, a social worker and a nurse clinician are available from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. weekdays. There is also an on-call service evenings and on weekends.

Next-day clinic: A child psychiatrist and a social worker are on staff every weekday morning to see patients who are returning for an urgent psychiatric assessment after being deemed safe enough to be sent home after a visit to the Emergency department the previous day.

Emergency follow-up: This service is offered to patients who require follow-up after a visit to the Emergency department and who need a referral to community services

Outpatient clinics in child psychiatry

Evaluation and stabilization of complex cases (ESCC)
ESCC consists of three OPD teams that provide psychiatric assessment, treatment and recommendations for children and adolescents up to the age of 18. ESCC teams are partnered with first line mental health services at the community CLSCs of the West Island, central-west Montreal and for the anglophone population of eastern Montreal. Second line psychiatry is also provided to the communities of Kahnawake and Kahnesatake. Team members include a psychiatrist, social worker, psychologist, psychotherapist and an educational liaison professional. 

The ADHD team provides tertiary level consultations for children with ADHD who present complex conditions (for example, multiple medical or psychiatric comorbidities) and for whom regular treatment has proven ineffective. Acceptance to this specialized service requires submission of a medical consultation and a copy of a psychology report that includes cognitive testing performed within the past three years. Team members include a child psychiatrist, social worker and an educational liaison professional.

Behavioural Pediatrics
The Behavioural Pediatrics team responds to MCH physician requests for consultation of patients with complex medical conditions as well as psychiatric difficulties. The psychiatric issues would be of sufficient intensity to interfere with medical treatment or the medical condition is sufficiently complex that regular mental health services would not be able to respond adequately. Team members include a child psychiatrist, social worker and a psychologist.  

Autism Complex Psychopharmacology Clinic

This specialized team provides consultations for children with autism spectrum disorders, already receiving intervention in the community (CLSC and/or CRDI), with severe mental health concerns that have not been adequately addressed by pharmacologic or non-pharmacologic intervention. Team members include a child psychiatrist and a nurse clinician.

Batshaw consultation
MCH child psychiatrists provide consultations  for patients under the care of Batshaw Family services and the Director of Youth Protection, whether living at home, group homes, foster care or in residential placement. Court Mandated Assessments are also carried out.

Northern services
MCH psychiatrists provide psychiatric services to the Cree and Inuit communities in Northern Québec.

First Episode Psychosis Program (FEPP)

The FEPP aims to screen, assess and intervene as quickly as possible with young people under the age of 18 who have a first psychotic episode. The goal of prompt response and management is to improve the clinical prognosis and allow functionally oriented recovery. The team consists of a child psychiatrist, a specialized nurse practitioner in mental health, an occupational therapist, and a clinical nurse.

Le SPOT Montréal:

Le SPOT Montréal is a specialized centre for adolescents in suicidal crisis under the responsibility of the Montreal Children's Hospital. Short-term, bilingual, public, multidisciplinary therapeutic services are provided to adolescents aged 12 to 18 who are in crisis and do not require hospitalization, but who need intensive follow-up to regain stability and continue with services in the community. They do not stay overnight at the centre, but rather return home after their sessions.  

The centre offers an individualized approach within an inclusive and culturally safe environment that values teaching and research.  

Le SPOT Montréal: a leader in innovative care that offers rapid support to regain balance. Adolescent mental health is at the heart of what we do!  

The centre is located at 5100 de Maisonneuve Blvd. West, local 104, in Montreal. 

Referring a patient

A referral to mental health services, and in particular outpatient psychiatry, begins by meeting with your pediatrician or family doctor to discuss the presenting problems. A medical practitioner must write a consultation request that specifies the nature of the problem and the type of assessment sought. This document must then be sent or taken to your local CLSC where there is an intake office for Youth Mental Health (le guichet d’accès pour Santé Mentale Jeunesse). The intake office will collect and confirm information needed for a psychiatry assessment and will discuss with you the mental health resources available to address the problem. If psychiatric consultation is called for, the guichet will send its findings and the doctor’s referral to a psychiatry department for outpatient follow-up.

Please note that referral of a patient to the First Episode Psychosis Program clinic is done differently. A medical referral is not absolutely necessary in order to have access to an evaluation in our service. Anyone who is concerned about a young person’s condition and the presence of psychotic symptoms is strongly encouraged to contact the clinic without delay.

Tel.: 514-412-4400 ext. 24449

Fax: 514-412-4376

Your appointment
  • The first appointment is crucial and often requires both parents or the legal guardian to be present.
  • Bring your and your child’s health insurance cards.
  • Bring all of your child’s psychiatric and psychological assessment reports. 
Helpful resources

There are several help lines that children can call if they need to talk to someone:

  • Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868; free online consultation 24/7, site for children and adolescents
  • Suicide Action Montréal: 1-866-APPELLE (1-866-277‑3553)

Additional resources: A website (in English only) for teens completely dedicated to mental health, featuring tools, videos, and useful apps.

Refer a patient 

Room: A03.3138.1, Glen site

Phone : 514-412-4449
Fax : 514‑412‑4232

If your child or teenager is exhibiting suicidal or homicidal behaviour, bring him/her to the Emergency Department as soon as possible. You can call 911 for guidance.