Team members in the Outpatient Psychiatry Service at Boston Children’s Hospital have long been at the forefront of providing expert, compassionate care to children and adolescents with a variety of mental health problems.
The Outpatient Psychiatry Service offers comprehensive evaluations for a wide range of conditions that affect the mental, emotional, and social health of children and adolescents. New patients receive a diagnostic evaluation and specific treatment recommendations tailored to the child and family.
Our team includes seasoned clinicians, clinical researchers, and innovative educators in the fields of child psychology, clinical social work, and child and adolescent psychiatry. A majority of our clinicians actively provide teaching and supervision to our psychology, psychiatry, and social worker trainees, resulting in carefully considered assessment and care plans for our patients.
The first step in our assessment and treatment process is a diagnostic evaluation. A diagnostic evaluation is a comprehensive assessment of emotional and behavioral problems. This evaluation will help you better understand your child’s mental health. Your clinician will summarize their evaluation findings and provide treatment recommendations. Your clinician may recommend treatment in Outpatient Psychiatry or elsewhere. Some problems require long-term care and whenever feasible, once your child has been stabilized, we work with behavioral health clinicians or primary care practitioners in the community who can assume the care of your child.
Who we see
To be eligible for a diagnostic evaluation and treatment in our clinic, patients must meet one of the following criteria:
- primary care doctor at Boston Children’s Hospital
- ongoing and active care for a chronic physical illness or condition at a Boston Children’s Hospital specialty clinic
- primary care in a Pediatric Physicians' Organization at Children's (PPOC) practice
- primary care in a Boston Children's-affiliated community health center (Bowdoin Street, Brookside, Dimock, Joseph M. Smith, Mattapan, South Cove, South End, Southern Jamaica Plain, Upham's Corner, and Whittier Street)
- enrollment in a Boston Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships (BCHNP) school
We primarily serve patients who are 4 to 17 years old at the time of the scheduled evaluation appointment, but will sometimes see younger or older patients based upon clinical need.
We do not evaluate patients in crisis. For immediate safety concerns, call 911 or your local emergency services provider team, or go to the nearest hospital emergency department.
We offer in-person and virtual (televideo) services
You may choose either an in-person evaluation conducted at Boston Children’s Hospital Longwood or Waltham, or a virtual evaluation conducted via televideo. A virtual evaluation is a live, interactive video visit between you, your child, and your clinician, and is similar to an in-person visit. The virtual evaluation is completely secure and can be completed on any type of mobile device (cell phone or tablet) or computer with a camera, speaker, and microphone.
Please note that due to COVID concerns, all families will be screened for symptoms 48 to 72 hours before their in-person visit and will be expected to follow hospital requirements for wearing masks and social distancing.
Requesting an evaluation
To request a psychiatric evaluation, please call us at 617-355-6680 (option 1). If our intake staff are not immediately able to answer your call, they will call you for an initial screening within one to two business days. Please note that we must speak directly to the child’s parent/legal guardian.
After this initial telephone screening, if your child/you are eligible for services in Outpatient Psychiatry, intake staff will send you the Family Self-Report (FSR) Form by email or standard USPS mail, or you can download it here. (Nota: Un versión de español de Cuestionario de Psiquiatría para la Familia está aquí.)
We must receive a completed copy of the FSR form before we can schedule your child’s/your evaluation. The FSR form provides us with information about your child's emotional, social, and physical health. Completing this questionnaire and sending it back will help make your visit more efficient and the evaluation more comprehensive.
Outpatient Psychiatry Service
300 Longwood Ave., Fegan 8
Boston, MA 02115
The following referrals are not routinely appropriate for our Outpatient Psychiatry Service and are referred elsewhere:
- Autism is the primary concern: Contact the Boston Children’s Hospital Autism Spectrum Center or external specialty programs.
- Eating disorder is the primary concern: Contact the Boston Children’s Eating Disorders Program or external specialty programs.
- Substance abuse/dependence is the primary concern: Contact the Boston Children’s Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program (ASAP) or external specialty programs
- Difficulty coping with a medical procedure or problem: If your child’s medical problem is being in a Boston Children’s specialty clinic, contact the clinic for access to its own behavioral health services.
- Learning disability testing is sought: Contact Boston Children’s Learning Disability Program or external specialists.
- Neuropsychological testing is sought: Contact the Neuropsychology Program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences for non-educational related testing or external neuropsychology testing resources.
- ADHD is the primary concern, but has never been evaluated or treated by their primary care doctor: Contact your primary care doctor.
- Court or other legal involvement is the primary concern: Contact external agencies.