As part of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, the Emergency Psychiatry Service provides consultative mental health services to children, adolescents, and their families who visit Boston Children’s Emergency Department in crisis.
The goals of the Emergency Psychiatry Service are to stabilize patients who have imminent safety concerns, and recommend the most appropriate follow-up care, which may be within the institution, at another hospital, or in the community.
We provide the following services:
- emergency psychiatric assessment
- crisis intervention
- acute stabilization
- safety planning
Is your child having an emergency?
If your child is at immediate risk for self-harm or is a danger to others, immediately call 911 or the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
If your child requires an urgent mental health assessment, call or text the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Help Line at 833-773-BHHL (833-773-2445) or visit masshelpline.com for initial guidance. Experienced mental health clinicians are available at this line 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide clinical guidance, and direct you to appropriate resources. This may include your local Mobile Crisis Intervention (MCI) team, who could come to your home to perform a psychiatric assessment, if appropriate. This may enable you to avoid waiting in an emergency department. The Behavioral Health Help Line clinicians can also determine the most appropriate type of care for your child, help with referrals, and guide you through the next steps in the process. This service is available for all ages regardless of insurance coverage.
In the Emergency Department
If your child is transported to the Emergency Department due to an imminent safety concern, they will first receive an evaluation by the Emergency Department medical team that includes a medical assessment. Your child will then be referred to the Emergency Psychiatry Service for a mental health assessment and recommendations for further care. Treatment may include brief crisis intervention in the Emergency Department, referral for intensive treatment such as inpatient psychiatric hospitalization, or referral to outpatient services. Our trained mental health clinicians can help your family find the most appropriate treatment to meet your child’s needs.