Emergency Department Diversion Team
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Emergency Department Diversion Team

When a child is in pain, parents take them straight to the doctor because they can’t wait. When they struggle with emotional pain because they have lost a loved one, been abused/bullied, or have suicidal thoughts, they can’t wait either. Yet all too often, they must wait when they go to an Emergency Department for mental health care.

In November 2018, Lutherwood and Grand River Hospital partnered to pilot the Emergency Department Diversion Team (EDDT). This innovative program is modernizing access to and delivery of mental health services such that kids receive the right services in the right place at the right time.

The pilot contains two streams:

Emergency Department Diversion: offers immediate support for kids through six area hospitals who do not need hospital admission but require more intensive support than what is available at home. Lutherwood ensures appropriate community services are provided through community partners including respite beds at its Safe Haven Youth Services. Mental health services are also offered at eight local medical clinics for children, youth and families who have reached out to their doctor for support and require brief services such as safety planning and coping skills development. This shortens Emergency wait times and provides appropriate mental health care when and where needed.

Woodlands Short-term Stay/CAIP Transition Service: Lutherwood provides two beds at its Children’s Mental Health Centre for youth who are ready to be discharged from Grand River Hospital’s Child and Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatry (CAIP) unit but need support beyond what can be provided at home. This service offers 4-6-weeks of intensive support using trained staff (nurse, psychologists, child and youth workers) before they return home.

Preliminary Results

Having direct access to mental health supports gives kids care when and where they need it. As of November 2020, EDDT resulted in:

  • 272 youth referred to the program
  • 81% of youth left EDDT having achieved their goals
  • 87% of the youth accessed additional community supports/services


We are very grateful to our community funding partners and donors for the success of this pilot. Today, EDDT receives interim funding from LHIN-WW and Ontario Government while waiting for longer-term, sustainable government funding.

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