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Mental Health Services

As the only health system in the state 100% dedicated to kids, Connecticut Children’s specializes in the unique mental health needs of children, teens and young adults.

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 from the National Suicide Prevention Life Line, call 1.800.273.8255 or text “HOME” to 741741.

Your Child’s Mental Health Team

Our experts work together to provide the support your child and family needs. That includes closely coordinating our services with one another, as well as your child’s other pediatric specialists.

While there are lots of differences (and some similarities) between various mental health experts, here’s a general breakdown of who’s who at Connecticut Children’s.

A psychiatrist is a physician (medical doctor) who specializes in mental health. They are experts in diagnosing and treating the full spectrum of psychiatric conditions, both through providing therapy and prescribing medication.

Connecticut Children’s psychiatrists are board-certified in child and adolescent psychiatry. To achieve this specialized board certification, each of our psychiatrists received their medical degree, and then completed a minimum of five years of additional supervised training with a focus on identifying and treating mental health concerns in children, teens and young adults.”

Psychologists are mental health clinical and research experts with a doctorate degree (PhD or PsyD) who have advanced training to provide specialized assessment and treatment services.

Connecticut Children’s pediatric psychologists specialize in children and adolescents with medical conditions. We focus on the connection between your child’s emotional health, social health, and cognitive health, and its impact on medical wellbeing.

For some medical conditions, that includes services right at your child’s medical visits.

Learn about our Division of Pediatric Psychology.

Social workers are experts in mental health and complex child care and family systems support. They hold a master’s level degree, with years of post-grad training and experience prior to obtaining state licensure.

At Connecticut Children’s, clinical social workers are employed throughout our health system – in the Emergency Department, on the inpatient floors, in many of our outpatient clinics, and as part of our community support programs.

Many of our social workers specialize in assessment, treatment and diagnosis of mental health disorders, and provide direct care to individuals and families. Others specialize in working with complex pediatric populations with thorough assessments and supportive counseling. We focus on the social, emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing of both the child and the family system.

Care coordinators support families in the communities where they live, work, go to school, socialize, and worship. They help families navigate lots of different services and resources to achieve overall health and wellbeing.

At Connecticut Children’s, our care coordination team is made up of nurses, clinical social workers and community experts who manage a patient’s treatment plan during and after hospital stays. We act as a bridge between your family and the many medical, educational, and social services available in your community.

That includes support for your child’s mental health, from help finding a community-based provider to help coordinating benefits. If you’re overwhelmed and facing challenges connecting to the right programs and providers, we can help.

Learn about our Center for Care Coordination.

Mental Health Services at Connecticut Children’s

We’re committed to ensuring that every child we meet at Connecticut Children’s has access to mental health services.

Here are some of the services we’ve created to do just that.

When Your Child Is in the Hospital

Sometimes, a patient who’s been admitted to Connecticut Children’s Emergency Department or medical floors has a mental health need that should be addressed right away. They might need support adjusting to a serious injury or new chronic illness, help dealing with a diagnosis that impacts their thinking or mental health, or treatment for a psychiatric condition.

Our mental health team provides all of this support as an inpatient consultation service.

When Your Child Requires Emergency Care

When a child, teen or young adult visits Connecticut Children’s Emergency Department in a crisis, our mental health experts are available to stabilize and support them. Our psychiatrists and social workers provide consultation services that include crisis intervention, psychiatric evaluations, treatment strategies, and referrals to community providers.

Some patients come to Connecticut Children’s Emergency Department with critical mental health disorders and can only be safely discharged if they have immediate access to a psychiatric provider. However, it may take a little time to connect with community-based providers.

Connecticut Children’s Transitions Clinic provides short-term support during that critical time. Immediately following a patient’s discharge from the Emergency Department, we offer individual and family therapy, medication management, and care coordination. We also help patients connect to the providers and services they need long-term, while ensuring that they don’t experience a gap in care during a critical time for their mental health.

When Your Child Is Receiving Medical Care

The Medical Coping Clinic is designed to support children, teens and families managing a chronic illness at Connecticut Children’s. This clinic is led by the Division of Pediatric Psychology, in collaboration with our other mental health experts.

Our team is specially trained to help your family manage both the medical and psychological impact of illness on your child. This includes how chronic illness may affect your child’s mood, behavior, education, and relationships, as well as how they adjust to their diagnosis and follow their care plan. Sometimes children and families adjust quickly, after only a few visits, but in other cases, adjusting to the challenges of living with a chronic disease takes more time. The Medical Coping Clinic is equipped to manage both situations.

We offer this support both in person and by Video Visit, including individual, group and family sessions.

The Mental and Medical Wellness Program is designed for patients and families who need some additional support to manage their medical and mental health. This unique intensive program is available three days a week, three hours a day.

This clinic is led by the Division of Pediatric Psychology, in collaboration with Connecticut Children’s other mental health experts. It also includes specialists from the divisions of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy.

The program is available to existing Connecticut Children’s patients, both in person and by Video Visit.

When You Are Home

At Connecticut Children’s Center for Care Coordination, we understand how overwhelming and challenging it is to connect to providers and navigate resources in your community after leaving the hospital. Our multi-disciplinary support team is available to help you navigate supports and ensure you know where to turn when things feel hard.

We can help your family connect to concrete resources, including medical, mental health, educational, and basic need supports.

Everyday Tips to Support Your Child

Check out our Mental and Behavioral Health Kit

Additional Resources

The following organizations offer mental health resources and support for your whole family.

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