About us

The HEARTSMAP tool is designed to support emergency department (ED) clinicians conduct an efficient comprehensive psychosocial evaluation for children and youth presenting with mental health concerns. Providing the clinician with guiding questions, the tool collects information across the following 10 variables:
  • Home
  • Education and Activities
  • Alcohol and drugs
  • Relationships and bullying
  • Thoughts and anxiety
  • Safety
  • Sexual health
  • Mood
  • Abuse
  • Professionals and resources
The tool subsequently uses the information entered by the clinicians, evaluating both the severity and the acuity of the youth’s needs for each section, to generate a report outlining the recommendations for ED management (e.g. consult psychiatry, refer to crisis response team, follow-up with primary care provider, etc.) and provides a summary of the scores and clinical notes. This report can be included in the patient’s medical record as a means of documentation.

The HEARTSMAP tool has been validated prospectively at the BC Children’s Hospital. It was found to have 100% sensitivity in identifying youth who were ultimately hospitalized. HEARTSMAP has been in use at the BCCH emergency department as the standard assessment tool for youth with mental health emergencies since January 2015. HEARTSMAP has since been further tested among a range of ED clinicians who assess and manage youth mental health emergencies in non-pediatric centres (physicians, psychiatric liaison nurses, and social workers). With high inter-user agreement (domain scores k=0.75 to 0.90), HEARTSMAP is reliable for use across emergency healthcare providers from diverse disciplines (1).

As part of a quality improvement initiative, the HEARTSMAP tool is now being implemented across British Columbia, in the Vancouver Coastal, Providence, Fraser, Northern Health, and Interior Health Authorities. The map below indicates sites that have received HEARTSMAP training.

  1. Virk, P., Stenstrom, R., & Doan, Q. (2018). Reliability testing of the HEARTSMAP psychosocial assessment tool for multidisciplinary use and in diverse emergency settings. Paediatrics & Child Health, 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1093/pch/pxy017