Refer a Patient
How to Refer a Patient
If you have questions about referring to Psychiatry and Behavioral Management (PBM), which services are currently available or a referral’s status, please call our PBM Referral Intake Team at 206-987-2164, option 2, or email them at OutpatientPsychiatryTriage@seattlechildrens.org. We want to help you find the appropriate care for your patient, either here or elsewhere.
Services We Don't Offer
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 (more details)
- 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)
Please see our list of possible resources in the community for these children.
Updated December 2022.
- Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine is accepting new referrals.
- To find out if the service your patient needs has capacity, call our PBM Referral Intake Team at 206-987-2164, option 2.
- Referrals are required for all Psychiatry services except our Behavior Health Crisis Care Clinic and some classes. (Therapy groups are different from classes and always require a referral.)
- 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., Early Childhood Clinic; Mood and Anxiety Program; Program to Enhance Attention, Regulation and Learning (PEARL); services for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing children; medication evaluation
- The name of any specific class or therapy group you would like your patient (or their parent or caregiver) to join
- Reason for referral: what is the clinical question for the specialist?
- 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
- If the patient is Deaf or Hard of Hearing
- 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
Additional requirements for referrals to the Program to Enhance Attention, Regulation and Learning (PEARL):
- All referrals to PEARL should include at least 1 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 3 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 scales, the severity of this patient’s problem 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.
- 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.
Our Subspecialty Clinics:
- Behavior and Attention Management Program (ages 5 to 17)
- We see patients with disruptive behavior and/or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (diagnosed or suspected).
- Referrals are required. On the referral, include Behavior and Attention Management Program and the specialized treatment or service you would like your patient (or their parent or caregiver) to receive.
- All new patients will have a consult visit first to assess the patient and family’s needs and match them to services, with the following exceptions: Patients may be referred directly to a PEARL diagnostic evaluation, ADHD First Steps (PDF) or the Disruptive Behavior Crisis Clinic without a consult visit, and patients may be referred directly to Foundations for Managing Disruptive Behaviors or Intensive Caregiver Group for Managing Disruptive Behavior from an emergency department or from within Seattle Children’s.
- Treatment model is stepped care, starting with the lowest-intensity intervention and stepping families up to more intensive interventions depending on need and capacity.
- We offer ADHD diagnostic evaluations, classes, group training for caregivers, groups for caregivers and children or teens together, a crisis clinic and 1-on-1 caregiver therapy for high-acuity disruptive behavior.
- Child and Adolescent Latino Mental Health Assessment Clinic (CALMA Clinic) (ages 2 to 18)
- Providers are bilingual.
- Referrals are required.
- We serve children ages 2 to 18 who have mental health concerns and their parents and other caregivers.
- Includes mental health evaluation and diagnosis (or second opinion) and parent training groups.
- May include evaluation for medication, if appropriate, and short-term medication management.
- Disruptive Behavior Crisis Clinic (DBCC) (ages 5 to 12)
- Primary concern is a mental health crisis related to behavioral issues and emotional dysregulation.
- A referral is required from an emergency room provider, primary care provider, mental health provider or school healthcare provider. Call 206-987-4820 or email us to see if we have openings and to place a referral.
- If we have an opening within 1 week, we will review your referral, complete a screening with you (the referring provider) and, if needed, call the family for additional screening to ensure our services are a good fit. If we do not have an opening within 1 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 DBCC’s What to Expect section of the website.
- Early Childhood Clinic (ECC) (ages 0 to 4)
- 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 5 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 tics/Tourette syndrome.
- We offer treatment for those who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH). Please be sure to note that on the referral.
- We offer brief, evidence-based treatment for these concerns. Treatment model is stepped care, starting with the lowest-intensity intervention (1- to 2-session psychoeducation class or 8- to 9-week treatment group) and stepping families up to more intensive interventions (e.g., brief individual therapy, intensive outpatient programs) depending on need and capacity.
- We offer 2 intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), Anxiety IOP and OCD IOP, to help youth who need intensive treatment for several hours a day, several times a week, get the care they need without hospitalization.
- We would gladly review an anxiety screener (e.g., MASC, SCARED, PROMIS, Spence, RCADS) with your referral, but it is not required.
- 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 attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder(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 our therapy groups below for more information.
- The PEARL Clinic offers ADHD First Steps, a 3-session psychoeducation class for parents of children with ADHD. This class is available to parents in or outside of the PEARL clinic. See our classes below for more information.
- Behavioral Health Crisis Care Clinic (BHCCC) (ages 10 to 17)
- Primary concern is active suicidal ideation or a recent suicide attempt. BHCCC does 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 the PCP, mental health provider, school health provider or caregiver).
- If we have an opening within 1 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 1 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 BHCCC’s What to Expect section of the website.
- 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 a medical doctor (MD) or advanced practice provider (APP); they will start with an evaluation by a master’s-level therapist or psychologist.
- If you ask for a medication consultation, the patient will be seen by an MD or APP, regardless of whether medications are ultimately recommended or wanted; this clinician will provide a diagnosis.
- Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine sees youth with mood and anxiety issues, ADHD, oppositional behavior and psychosis. We do not generally see youth with autism spectrum disorder for psychiatric medication evaluation. Instead, please refer these patients to the Autism Center.
- 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 referring provider isn’t comfortable managing the patient’s medication, we will help the family identify another appropriate provider for this role using the Washington State Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens.
- If a patient is actively experiencing suicidal thoughts, we require the patient 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 assistants who see patients in our clinic.
- In your referral, please state if you are requesting a medication consultation.
Our Therapy Groups
- All patients need to have an evaluation appointment with us before joining a therapy group.
- Therapy groups meet for a defined period, often weekly for 2 to 3 months, although each one is different. Patients and families do not attend indefinitely. Groups are offered repeatedly throughout the year, and if the current group is full, families can get on the waitlist for the next available one (once the child has completed their initial evaluation appointment).
- Therapy groups often run at full capacity and have long waitlists.
- We limit the number of patients participating in each group to provide the best outcomes for all participants.
- We welcome outside referrals to all our therapy groups.
- All groups are currently conducted via telehealth due to COVID-19.
List of therapy groups:
- Incredible Years. For parents of children ages 2 to 5; for ages 6 to 8, 9 to 11 and their parents. Read more (PDF).
- Anxiety and OCD Group Treatment Program. For ages 6 to 17, split into separate groups based on age. Read more (PDF) (Spanish).
- Early Childhood Parent Anxiety Group. For parents of children ages 3 to 6. Read more (PDF) (Spanish).
- Coping and Mood Management for Teens. For teens ages 13 to 17 and their parents. Read more (PDF).
- School Avoidance Group. For parents of youth of any age. Read more (PDF) (Spanish).
- Selective Mutism Group. For children ages 3 to 7 and 8 to 12 and their parents. Read more (PDF).
- Meal Support Class. For parents of youth of any age with a feeding or eating disorder or anxiety around eating. Read more (PDF).
- SuperParenting. For parents of children ages 6 to 12 who have mental health difficulties. Read more (PDF).
- SuperParenting Teens. For parents of children ages 12* or 13 to 17 who have mental health difficulties. Read more (PDF).
- STAND – Supporting Teens Autonomy Daily. For youth ages 12*, 13* or 14 to 17 and their parents. Read more (PDF).
- PATTERN – Parents and Tweens Tuning In, Engaging, Relating and Nurturing. For youth ages 10 to 13 and their parents. Read more (PDF) (Spanish).
*Per clinic discretion
- Classes are different than therapy groups.
- Some classes require a referral. Others do not. See our list of classes below.
- Classes are shorter than groups and repeat more often.
- Waitlists are much shorter, if there is any wait at all.
- Classes are designed to help families start to access the information, tools and resources they and their child need, often while they are waiting to join a therapy group at Seattle Children’s or individual/group therapy elsewhere.
- Classes are web-based at this time.
- Financial assistance is available for qualifying families for classes with an associated cost.
List of classes:
- ADHD First Steps Parent Education Class. A referral is required. This is a 3-session class for parents of children ages 5 to 17 years old who have been diagnosed with ADHD or may have ADHD. It focuses on how ADHD affects child behavior, evidence-based treatments for ADHD and school resources for ADHD. It meets once a week and costs $20 per session ($60 total). Read more (PDF).
- Finding Mental Health Care in Washington State: A Class on Where to Start. A referral is not required. This free 60-minute monthly class is for families who are seeking mental and behavioral health services for children or youth under 18 and who are not familiar with the mental health system in Washington state. Read more.
Submit a Referral
New Appointment Request Form (PDF) (DOC)
Step-by-step guide to submitting a referral
We’re committed to partnering with you
Once we receive your referral, we will contact you:
- If we have questions about the referral
- If the patient does not meet the clinical criteria for our programs
Due to the amount of referrals we receive, we aren’t able to contact every PCP when a referral is received. In addition, we are not able to contact every family to confirm receipt of their referral. Please encourage families to contact us to confirm receipt after the referral is placed.
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 a referral’s status, referring to PBM, or what services are currently available: call us at 206-987-2164, option 2, or email us at OutpatientPsychiatryTriage@seattlechildrens.org.
- Questions about submitting 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.
- 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.
Research and Resources 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
- 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 us.