Department of Psychiatry

Department of Psychiatry Overview

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Working together to help children and families achieve healthy development

Welcome to the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital. For more than 60 years, we have tended to the mental health care of children, adolescents and their families by caring for patients and advocating on their behalf.

Our experienced psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and nurses understand the wide-reaching impact of a behavioral disorder, emotional problem or psychiatric disease, and we will give your child and family all of the tools you need to manage your unique situation. Depending on your family’s needs, we’ll see your child individually or with your family, in or outside of the hospital setting. 

We’re known around the world for our strengths in patient care and scientific research, and we also take pride in our public advocacy. We are dedicated to erasing the stigma of mental illness by educating families, raising community awareness and increasing access to critical support services.

If your child has been diagnosed with a mental health issue requiring professional intervention, we are here to help. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us.

Our mission

In partnership with others in our community, the Boston Children’s Hospital Department of Psychiatry will provide excellence and leadership in clinical care, education, research and mental health advocacy for children and their families.

Our history

When a child is faced with a behavioral disorder, emotional problem or psychiatric disease, the impact is far-reaching—affecting everything from the child’s home, school and social life to the emotional wellness of the entire family. For more than 60 years, the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital has worked to mitigate this impact while caring for children, adolescents and their families.

Our expertise

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We specialize in helping children and adolescents face disabling troubles with depression, anxiety, inattention and oppositional behaviors as well as those adjusting to stressful and traumatic events. Through our Behavioral Medicine Clinic and related offerings, we have particular expertise helping youngsters coping with physical illnesses—such as cancer and heart disease—to manage the strain from lengthy hospital stays, medication regimens and chronic pain.

We provide care in many settings, from our inpatient units and clinician’s offices to schools and community health centers. Our treatments include individual, group and family counseling, psychotherapy and—when appropriate—the use of medication in conjunction with behavioral therapy.

Here are some highlights about our department:

  • Each year, the Children’s Department of Psychiatry performs approximately:
    • 14,000 outpatient visits
    • 2,000 community visits
    • 800 medical consultations
    • 400 inpatient admissions
  • Among the many conditions we treat are:
    • anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and separation anxiety disorder

    • attention disorders, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
    • autism spectrum disorders
    • behavioral changes after medical or surgical treatment
    • bipolar disorder
    • body image issues
    • depressive disorders, such as major depression and dysthymia
    • disruptive behavior disorders
    • psychiatric effects of brain damage or brain injury and neurological/developmental disorders
    • psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia
    • suicidal ideation
    • traumatic stress
    • Tourette’s disorder
  • We offer one of the most sought-after pediatric psychiatry residency training programs in the world for talented physicians with a particular interest in child and adolescent mental health.
     
  • We are among the only pediatric hospitals to provide intensive mental health support for children and families confronting other chronic health conditions, such as:
    • cancer
    • cerebral palsy
    • diabetes
    • epilepsy
    • heart disease
    • endocrine system and hormonal disorders
    • spinal cord injury
    • traumatic brain injury
       
  • Our Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships Program delivers tailored, culturally competent mental health care for underserved children and families through collaborations with Boston schools and community health centers.
  • As part of our commitment to public advocacy and increased accessibility to psychiatric care for all children and families, Children’s has teamed with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children to campaign for a significant reform of the state’s mental health system

The journal is a collection of thoughts and stories from children and families, and also includes reflections from healthcare professionals. Topics in each journal range from “Having to Go to the Hospital” to “Things that Help” and “Words of Wisdom,” and are organized by age group for easier navigation.

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Discover: Psychiatry

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Boston Children’s takes multifaceted approach in support of childhood mental health

The passage of 2008’s landmark Act Relative to Children’s Mental Health was a significant step forward in addressing the unmet needs of an estimated 100,000 children who do not receive the mental health care they need. There’s still a lot of work to do, including improving the coordination of care between mental health professionals and families, teachers, pediatric providers and other adults who regularly interact with at-risk children.

Battling anger with a video game

Advances in neurobiology and computer science have made it possible for Boston Children's clinicians to design special interventions that strengthen children's ability to control emotions.

Joseph Gonzalez-Heydrich, MD, working with Boston Children's social worker Peter Ducharme, LICSW, and programmer Jason Kahn, PhD, has developed a computer game called RAGE-Control (Regulate and Gain Emotional Control).

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Request an Appointment

If this is a medical emergency, please dial 9-1-1. This form should not be used in an emergency.

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Send RequestIf you do not see the specialty you are looking for, please call us at: 617-355-6000.International visitors should call International Health Services at +1-617-355-5209.
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This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

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Contact the Department of Psychiatry

  • 1-617-355-6680
The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
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