Practical information

  • Don’t give up, success in life is a marathon
  • Find and nurture your skills
  • Set a goal and make your dreams come true
  • Eat regularly and choose healthy foods
  • Get enough sleep and rest
  • Relax, for example with music, meditation, reading
  • Exercise regularly, for example by working out, swimming, dancing
  • Be around friends and family
  • Participate in social events and nurture your hobbies
  • Compliment and give back to others
  • Be on your own side
  • Be modest
  • Talk about your feelings
  • Be honest with yourself and others
  • Think about what increases your energy and well-being
  • Think positively
  • Write down what matters to you
  • Seek information and assistance

Information regarding various issues related to children’s and adolescents’ mental health can be found in booklets in Icelandic that BUGL published in collaboration with Iceland‘s Directorate of Health in January 2010

  • “Geðheilsan þín skiptir máli” (Your Mental Health Matters) – A booklet for adolescents
  • “Geðheilsa barnsins þíns” (Your Child‘s Mental Health) – A booklet for parents

The National University Hospital’s Psychiatric Department for Children and Adolescentsis a division within Women’s and Children’s Services. 

The employees consist of a wide group of professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders among children and adolescents, with the goal of increasing the quality of life for them and their families.

BUGL receives children up to 18 years old from all over the country.

The employees at BUGL provide specialized services and take care of children and adolescents with complex and multi-factorial mental issues and/or severe mental symptoms.

A specialized interdisciplinary service is provided, which takes into account the needs of the children and their families. 

We work closely with the parties conducting the primary diagnoses, such as health clinics and social services, and other professionals working with the child and family in their immediate environment.

An emphasis is placed on kindness in all communication as well as a good cooperative relationship with parents/ guardians.

BUGL is a part of a university hospital and participates in the undergraduate and graduate education of health care workers relating specifically to psychiatric services for children and adolescents.

The department also works with other departments and institutions that provide services for children, adolescents, and their families. In addition, BUGL provides education and consultation for parents and professionals.

BUGL employs people from many different professions; physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, art therapy specialists, licensed practical nurses, as well as health care and medical secretaries. 

In the inpatient unit there are also counselors with diverse education and experiences.

The society’s services for children with mental and behavioral disorders are divided into three stages; primary services, advanced services and specialized services.

The operations of BUGL are considered specialized services which are only meant for the most complex cases.

1. Stages of Service

  • Stage one
    • Health Clinics
    • Schools
    • Social Services
  • Stage two
    •  Private Practice Specialists
    • Specialized Treatment Teams
    • Centre for Child Development and Behaviour (Þroska- og hegðunarstöð)
  • Stage three
    • BUGL

BUGL offers diverse and specialized mental health services to children and adolescents both as outpatients and inpatients.

The great majority receives services only as outpatients. Admissions to the inpatient unit for children and adolescents are made when a specialized assessment is needed and/or when the treatment goes beyond what the outpatient unit can offer.

At BUGL we work closely with a great number of institutions that fall into the categories of primary, advanced and special services  and manage the cases of children and adolescents.

After treatment is completed at BUGL, the primary and advanced services take over the supervision and follow-up of the child or adolescent.

2. BUGL‘s main cooperative partners

  • Family
  • The National Children's Hospital
  • Child Protection Services, Socilal Services, Regional Offices
  • Schools and School-Related Services
  • The Centre for Child Development and Behaviour 
  • Private Practice Specialists
  • The State Diagnostic and Counselling Centre
  • SLF’s Rehabilitation Centre, The Benefit Society for Children with Disab.
  • The Government's Agency for Child Protection and Rehabilitation Centre
  • Health Clinics


We are constantly working on strengthening our partnerships with services for children and adolescents’ mental health such as health clinics, social services, child protection services and specialized services in schools.

The purpose is to ensure continuity and to transfer the expertise from BUGL to those parties who provide services for the children and their families in their immediate environments.

Another one of BUGL’s roles is to develop and conduct studies on diagnostic methods and treatments. We work closely with other institutions and the scientific community with the goal of being able to provide the best possible service at all times.

Purposeful education and consultation for institutions and interest groups is a very important part of BUGL’s operations and we hope to do more work in this area in the coming years.

BUGL‘s conferences are an important part of the strengthening of this service.

When suspicion of mental problems with a child or an adolescent arises, a process can be started which can lead to a referral to BUGL. 

Parents first seek assistance from services within their municipality, such as the health clinic, social service centers, or the school’s psychology services.

A primary diagnosis has to be conducted before a referral to BUGL is given. The referral must include information about the child’s issues and the results of the child/ adolescent’s developmental assessments.

BUGL’s main referrers are the health clinics’ diagnostic and treatment teams, specialist physicians, health clinic physicians, psychologists, specialized services in kindergartens
and primary schools, social services, and child protection services. 

These parties assess the problem in relation to the child’s family, environment and school, and offer the appropriate support and treatment.

If the previously mentioned parties agree that the child in question needs a more specialized service it is the responsibility of the specialist who conducted the assessment to refer the child to BUGL. 

It is also the responsibility of whoever conducted the primary diagnosis to make sure that the appropriate services are provided as quickly as possible.

Cases are referred through a written referral which is available on BUGL’s website. It is essential that the referral includes which physician will be conducting the follow-up after BUGL’s involvement is over.

The main reasons for referrals to BUGL are mental, behavioural and developmental disorders. Further information regarding referrals can be found at our website.

Emergency services are provided at BUGL’s outpatient unit. We have an emergency team there that receives phone calls and assesses whether a case needs immediate intervention.

If a case calls for immediate attention, an emergency assessment takes place in the outpatient unit where the case is steered in the appropriate direction and a decision is made as to whether emergency admittance into BUGL’s inpatient unit is necessary.

The emergency team sends written information regarding the results of the emergency assessment to a health clinic physician and the child’s therapist after BUGL’s intervention.

The emergency service at Dalbraut is open during daytime work hours (tel: 543-4300) but at other times phone calls are directed to BUGL’s inpatient unit (tel: 543-4320 or 543-4338).

Should immediate service be required, the child and adolescent psychiatrist on call is consulted.

All referrals to BUGL are delivered to the admission team. 

The team assesses the case and checks whether enough information has been given or if more documents are required.

If the services of the outpatient unit are required, the child goes on a waiting list; alternatively, the case gets turned back over to the referrer.

The admission team attends weekly meetings with the emergency team. 

As assessment is made for each case to determine whether intervention is needed and how follow-up will be conducted.

When a child/adolescent comes in for treatment in the outpatient unit the first step is to define the problem. 

An in-depth diagnostic process is conducted, and after that the appropriate treatment options are offered. We then work cooperatively with the family, the referrer and those parties who are connected to the child’s immediate environment (such as social services, special services in the school, or child protection services) regarding the appropriate support.

Treatments in the outpatient unit vary. 

They include support and treatment interviews with the child/adolescent, parents and family. In addition, we offer courses, group therapy, art therapy, medication treatment, and more.

Work with the families is integrated into all treatments at BUGL but a specialized family therapy can also be used if required. 

The treatment is based on mapping and analyzing psychosocial communication difficulties that are often related to mental and behavioral disorders, as well as helping the family find and utilize its strengths.

The following diagnostic and treatment teams are a part of BUGL’s outpatient unit:

We have two interdisciplinary teams that generally manage cases when they are first received. 

Each team manages certain areas (postal codes) of the country. 

Clients who get referred to the teams have multi-factorial and complex problems that need interdisciplinary assistance and the involvement of many professionals.

The teams hold weekly meetings to discuss the cases that have been referred to them. 

The problems can include general mental issues, various anomalies in development as well as problems related to behavior and feelings.

The teams work on both diagnoses and treatments, and also promote other ways of treating the problems. 

Close cooperation is maintained with other teams within BUGL
and treatment parties/consultants in the home area.

If necessary, the outpatient teams handle needs and requests for service in the immediate environment. 

The team works cooperatively with the child and the family with the goal of transferring and adjusting skills that have been obtained during treatment in the inpatient or outpatient unit.

The family also receives consultation in regards to increasing the child‘s participation and activity at home, school, with hobbies, and strengthening social connection. 

With purposeful follow-up, it is therefore often possible to maintain activity, prevent the worsening of conditions, as well as shorten the time in the inpatient unit if the child 

BUGL‘s eating disorder team is a specialized team that manages cases when a child or adolescent has a serious eating disorder. 

The eating disorder team provides both diagnosis and treatment. 

In severe cases the patient may have to be admitted to the Child and adolescent inpatient unit, but close cooperation is maintained with the professionals in the eating disorder team.

The treatment goal is to help the child/adolescent deal with the disorder with support from the parents and professionals. 

An emphasis is placed on the child and parents learning new and better ways to deal with the eating disorder and to gain a better insight into which factors hinder recovery. 

Interdisciplinary treatment is offered to deal with multiple symptoms of eating disorder.

The transgender team works with children and adolescents, born as a boy or a girl but does not feel comfortable with it.

The team works according to defined procedure and in close collaboration with both the child/adolescent and parents to get the best possible results and analyze the child’s difficulties.

The most important task is to highlight the child’s difficulties in their gender identity (what is the child’s experience of its own gender).

At the end of the diagnosis period, it will be determined whether the child in question meets the diagnostic criteria for gender identity disorder and/or has another problems.

The neurological team is a specialized team that manages in-depth diagnostic processes for children with anomalies in neurological development. 

This includes, among other things, children with disorders on the autism spectrum, Tourette syndrome, and severe specific developmental disorders.

The neurological team receives referrals from the outpatient teams and from the inpatient unit.

The follow-up team is in charge of medication for children who needs specialized medicine treatment after being discharged from the outpatient unit.

The follow-up team is in collaboration with healthcare professionals, private practice specialists and other service providers in the child’s immediate environment.

The inpatient unit is intended for children up to 18 years old. A maximum of 17 children can stay there, either only during the daytime or during both day and night.

The majority of children in the inpatient unit stay there from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm during weekdays but stay at home during weekends.

The unit is also considered an emergency department and is open 24 hours a day, all year round.

In the Child and adolescent inpatient unit, the emphasis is placed on specialized assessments of the feelings and behaviour of the children as well as on environmental treatments which can only be provided within a closed unit. 

At the time of admittance a personalized treatment plan is made for each child, and is revised regularly.

Active participation from the parents is expected during the child‘s stay in the unit.

During their stay in the unit, children of compulsory school age will either attend their usual school or attend Brúarskóli which is located on BUGL’s lot. 

Close cooperation is maintained with the school regarding teaching and assessment of the child’s educational and academic status.

Thorough information about the inpatient unit for children and adolescents can be found on the website.

Brúarskóli by Dalbraut is located on BUGL‘s lot and is part of the Educational Center of Reykjavík (Fræðslumiðstöð Reykjavíkur) and is a special school for students who have mental problems and are admitted at BUGL.

The main objective of teaching is to support the students in their studies; it is individually tailored for each student, based on his/her academic standing, interests and abilities. 

In most cases we use multigrade teaching in small groups.

After discharge, Brúarskóli’s advisory division conducts follow-ups with the students and provides assistance and information for employees at the children’s local schools when needed.

The school is open for the same time of year that teaching takes place in other schools.

Further information about Brúarskóli can be found on the school’s website

It should be noted that employees and students of the hospital are bound by confidentiality and all patients’ cases are treated with utmost confidentiality.

The National University Hospital is a teaching hospital and students of health care disciplines and related fields of study complete a part of their education within the hospital.

Students observe and participate in the daily treatment of patients but are always under the responsibility and guidance of their supervisors.

If parents/guardians have any comments and/or complaints in regards to a child’s treatment/service they may contact the service manager, division manager or the medical director by calling BUGL‘s outpatient unit at this number: 543-4300.


The Icelandic Red Cross Helpline 1717

Emergency number 112, the lines are open 24 hours a day






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