We are dedicated to providing the highest quality, compassionate, culturally inclusive, and comprehensive mental healthcare for all children. We focus on prevention, treatment, innovation, research, education, and advocacy to empower lifelong success.

If you feel your child is in crisis, or a danger to themselves or others, call 911.

In Connecticut, you can also call 211 for emergency or crisis intervention. For free, confidential support , call 1.800.273.8255 or text “HOME” to 741741.

What to Expect During Your Visit

It is our goal to partner with you and your child on their journey to wellness.

When You Arrive

  • Your child will change into hospital attire.
  • We will return their personal belongings to you, or store them.
  • We will show your child the daily schedule and talk about personal boundaries.
  • You can expect your child to stay in a safe area.

The team inspects the room daily and assigns your child a patient care partner. 

Mental Health Evaluation

  • Initial Exam: A trained emergency medicine provider will evaluate your child. This includes a physical exam and a discussion of their concern.
  • Social Work: A licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) might further assess your child’s needs. They will meet with you, your child, and then both of you together. They may also reach out to your child’s community care team, including their school, for more information.
  • Additional Care: If needed, we may also bring in a child and adolescent psychiatrist to discuss care plans and evaluation with the LCSW.

Please note: because we are committed to safety and high-quality care, evaluations are thorough. This means our team may need several hours, or even an overnight observation of your child. We appreciate your patience.

Next Steps

Once we have an initial plan for your child, the team will meet with both of you to talk about the next steps such as:

  • Discharge from Hospital: After evaluation and support from our team, your child may be safe to leave the hospital. Our team will provide you with a safety plan and recommendations that may include new resources.
  • Continued Emergency Care: Your child may be asked to remain in the emergency department for more assessment and treatment like therapy, medication changes, or securing community support.
  • Inpatient Psychiatric Admission: If your child requires additional support, we may admit them to a specialized hospital for ongoing care. It is our goal to place them in the first available hospital that meets their specific needs.

Visitor Guidelines

  • Visitors: Only one visitor at a time is allowed with patients. Visitors usually include legal guardians and up to two additional adults. This is subject to change.
  • Visitor Compliance: We expect all visitors to comply with our patient care and visitor guidelines. Please feel free to ask a team member for details.
  • Changes in Behavior: If your child is showing signs of danger to themselves or to others, we may have you delay your visit until further notice.
  • Personal Items: For safety reasons, our staff will inspect items brought from home. Personal electronics, including cell phones, are not allowed at the bedside.
  • Item Storage: Our staff offers secure lockers for personal belongings such as bags or purses, which are not allowed in the patient care area.

If you have additional questions, please call 860.545.9150.

Resources for Families

The Emergency Mental Health Services team at Connecticut Children’s organized a list of local and national organizations and resources that help families with children who are experiencing mental health needs. The resource list is available in English and Spanish. 

Mental Health Family Support

Salud Mental Apoyo Familiar