Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine
Refer a Patient
To locate a referral, call our Clinical Intake Coordinators at 206-987-2080, option 2.
Updated December 2020.
- Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine is accepting new referrals. Some mental health services have a long wait list. Check to see if the service your patient needs has capacity. If we do not have capacity, you may find help under “Resources for Providers” at the bottom of this page.
- Referrals are required for all Psychiatry services except our Behavior Health Crisis Care Clinic.
- During COVID-19, we are conducting most appointments via telehealth, including new patient visits.
Please submit a referral that is complete. This helps us schedule your patient’s appointment in a timely manner and ensure their first visit is smooth and productive. You can also help us expedite the triage process by submitting any measures that have been taken.
We may not schedule patients until a complete referral is received.
With all referrals, please include:
- Service/specialty clinic requested, i.e., Mood and Anxiety Program; Early Childhood Clinic; Program to Enhance Attention, Regulation and Learning (PEARL); services for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing children; medication evaluation
- Reason for referral: what is the clinical question for the specialist?
- If the referral is urgent (see within 4 weeks) or routine (next available)
- ICD-10 diagnosis – required
- Visit type:
- New patient consult, transfer of care, second opinion or return visit/ongoing care
- Any clinical documents that are relevant to the patient’s mental health condition (clinic notes, medication history, growth charts, lab reports, imaging and diagnostic reports, previous specialty evaluations)
- Patient’s full name, DOB, sex, address, guardian contact information and insurance
- Referring provider’s name, phone, fax and the referral coordinator’s email address so that we may contact you if additional information is needed
- If an interpreter is needed
- Any known barriers to performing a successful telehealth (video) visit with the family
- If the family has been informed that this referral is being placed
Information and additional referral guidelines for subspecialty clinics:
- Early Childhood Clinic (ECC) (ages 0 to 5)
- We see patients with behavior issues like disruptive behavior, anxiety, sleep problems, neurodevelopmental problems and prenatal exposure to alcohol or drugs.
- If we determine your patient would benefit from therapy, we offer psychotherapy in group format only.
- Mood and Anxiety Program (ages 6 to 18)
- We see patients for anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, gender concerns, hair pulling, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), psychotic disorders, selective mutism, skin picking and Tourette syndrome.
- We have 4 subclinics: Anxiety, Depression, OCD IOP (intensive outpatient program), Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) and Eating Disorders.
- If we determine your patient would benefit from therapy, we offer psychotherapy in group format only.
- We accept both MASC and SCARED screening tools for anxiety-related disorders, but prefer MASC.
- For children younger than 8, we recommend including the Spence Anxiety Scale in your referral.
- We can oversee a medication consultation trial. However, once medication doses are stabilized, patients are returned to their primary care providers for ongoing management.
- Program to Enhance Attention, Regulation and Learning (PEARL) (ages 5 to 17)
- We see patients for ADHD and other challenges related to attention, learning and behavior.
- If we determine your patient would benefit from therapy, we offer psychotherapy in group format only (by internal referral only). See “More about our therapy groups” below.
- All referrals to PEARL should include at least one of the following:
- Recent measures such as parent and teacher Vanderbilt Assessment Scales
- Previous psychological/educational evaluations
- A narrative of current and historical symptoms
- All referrals to PEARL should include your top three reasons for referral, from among these:
- After my evaluation and reviewing the patient’s Vanderbilt scales, the diagnostic picture remains unclear/complex.
- After my evaluation and reviewing the patient’s Vanderbilt, the severity of this patient’s problems is too high to be treated in primary care.
- After optimizing medication, the patient is still in need of other treatment approaches (e.g., behavior therapy) to address impairments.
- After optimizing medication, symptoms and/or impairments have persisted or worsened.
- This patient’s caregivers specifically requested a referral to the PEARL Clinic.
- I have limited training in the evaluation and treatment of attention, learning or behavior problems.
- The PEARL Clinic offers ADHD First Steps, a 3-class psychoeducation series for parents of children with ADHD. This class is available to patients both within and outside of the PEARL Clinic.
- Behavioral Health Crisis Care Clinic (ages 10 to 17)
- Primary concern is active suicidal ideation or a recent suicide attempt. We do not see youth with externalizing behaviors or anxiety as the primary concern.
- A referral is not required. Instead, a phone screen should be completed by calling 206-987-7480 (call can be made by PCP, mental health provider, school health provider or caregiver).
- If we have an opening within one week, we will review your referral and complete a screening with your patient/family to ensure our services are a good fit. If we do not have an opening within one week, we will let you know.
- Please note that we do not always have the capacity to take on new patients.
- You may direct families to the clinic’s What to Expect information.
- If the patient has completed any standardized screening or questionnaire, we would like to see the results of that measure (i.e., ASQ, Columbia).
- Medication evaluations (ages 5+)
- In your referral, please state if you are requesting a medication consultation. If you just say “depression” or “anxiety” or “ADHD,” the patient will not start with an MD or APP; they will start with an evaluation by a master’s-level therapist or psychologist.
- We see youth with mood and anxiety issues, ADHD, oppositional behavior and psychosis. We do not generally see youth with autism spectrum disorder. Please refer to the Autism Center instead.
- We provide consultation with the potential to oversee a trial of medication and then send the patient back to the community for care.
- We typically ask the referring provider to take over care once a medication is at a stable dose.
- If the patient’s mental health needs are greater than can be managed by the referring provider, we will ask the family to use the Washington State Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens to help identify community resources for child and adolescent psychiatry or mental health APPs in the community for longer-term care.
- We require patients to be in therapy prior to initiating medication intervention. Therapy can be outside Seattle Children’s.
- We have both child and adolescent psychiatrists and mental health nurse practitioners or physician’s assistants who see patients in our clinic. In addition, our clinic is a training site, and many of our visits involve trainees (general psychiatry residents or child and adolescent psychiatry fellows, advanced practice fellows). If patients are going to be seen in the Training Clinic, we will discuss this with the family prior to scheduling an appointment.
- We do not see children for the following:
- Short-term therapy (unless referred by a Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine provider in one of our subspecialty clinics)
- Sexual abuse/sexual aggression
- Long-term individual therapy
- Long-term medication management
- In-home therapy
- Dyslexia evaluations
- Parenting evaluations for legal purposes
- School evaluations after expulsion or suspension (if schools require this, they should provide a list of approved providers for this purpose)
Please see our list of possible resources in the community for these children.
- Inpatient care: Patients can be admitted to the inpatient Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit (PBMU) (ages 3 to 17) only after they visit an emergency room and providers there decide they would benefit from an inpatient stay.
- Patients not seen by our department in the last year will need a new referral.
More about our therapy groups
- All patients need to have an evaluation appointment with us before joining a therapy group.
- Groups meet for a defined multiweek series; patients and families do not attend indefinitely.
- When groups are full, patients will be added to a wait list for a future series.
- We welcome outside referrals to all our therapy groups.
- All groups are currently conducted via telehealth due to COVID-19.
- Incredible Years (2 to 5, ages 6 to 8, 9 to 11 and their parents). Read more (PDF).
- Anxiety and OCD Group Treatment Program (ages 6 to 17, split into separate groups based on age). Read more (PDF) (Spanish).
- Parent Anxiety Group (parents of children ages 3 to 6). Read more (PDF).
- Coping and Mood Management for Teens (ages 13 to 17 and their parents). Read more (PDF).
- School Avoidance Group (middle and high school students and their parents). Read more (PDF).
- Selective Mutism Group (children ages 3 to 7 and 8 to 12 and their parents). Read more (PDF).
- Eating Disorders – Meal support training (parents of children any age with eating disordered behavior). Read more (PDF).
- SuperParenting (parents of children ages 5*, 6 to 11, and 12* with ADHD or related behavioral difficulties). Read more (PDF).
- SuperParenting Teens (parents of children ages 12*, 13 to 17 who have mental health difficulties). Read more (PDF).
- Supporting Teens Autonomy Daily, or STAND (children ages 12*, 13*, 14 to 17 and their parents). Read more (PDF).
- Parent and School Partnership Consultation (parents/caregivers of children ages 5 to 11). Read more (PDF).
*Per clinic discretion
Submit a referral
Pease call our Clinical Intake Nurses if you need assistance: 206-987-2080, option 1.
We’re committed to partnering with you
Once we receive your referral, we will contact you to let you know if we have an opening for your patient or not. If we have an opening, we will call your patient to schedule an appointment.
Most of our treatment plans are short term (less than 6 months), after which we help our patients transition to the care of their primary care provider and/or a mental health specialist in the community for ongoing management. Patients can return to our care if medication adjustment, intervention or stabilization is required. They will need a referral if we have not seen them in the last year.
We are always available to answer questions and support your care of your patients.
- Diagnosis and treatment options: call 206-987-7777 (Provider-to-Provider Line)
- Referring or transporting a patient to our Emergency Department or Urgent Care: call 206-987-8899 or toll free 866-987-8899 (ED Communications Center)
- Questions about scheduling and referrals, including locating or expediting a referral: call 206-987-2080 (Clinical Intake Nurses)
Learn more about managing your patients at Seattle Children's, including viewing your patient’s records.
Meet our team.
See our locations.
What Your Patients Can Expect
- Once we receive your referral, your patient will be in our queue to review and schedule.
- We review openings and the patient referral queue daily.
- As openings become available, we call families to schedule based on provider availability and the patient’s condition and acuity.
- Patients can visit our What to Expect page for more information about their appointment.
Resources and research for families
- INCLUDE Developmental Delay Study for children ages 7 to 16 with intellectual developmental delay or intellectual disability.
- Treating Parents with ADHD and Their Children. For families in which a parent has ADHD that is not being treated with medication and a young child (ages 3 to 7) has ADHD symptoms that have not been treated with medication.
- It is important for families to get care when their child needs it, and many resources in the community can help if Seattle Children’s has no openings.
- One resource every parent should know about is the free Washington Mental Health Referral Service that matches families with local mental health providers who have availability and accept their child’s insurance. Families can call 833-303-5437 Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or complete an online request and a referral specialist will call them.
- Also see insurance requirements and paying for mental health care.
Resources for Providers
- Children’s Crisis Outreach Response System (CCORS)
- Partnership Access Line (PAL): Telephone-based child mental health consultation system for primary care doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants throughout Washington and Wyoming
- University of Washington Psychiatry Consultation Line for Providers (patients ages 18+)
- See our clinic’s Patient and Family Resources
- Resources in the community for conditions Seattle Children’s doesn’t see
To suggest additional resources from Seattle Children’s that would be useful to primary care providers, please email email@example.com.