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.
Updated May 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 our classes (therapy groups are different from classes and do require a referral).
- 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.
- 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 For ADHD referrals (PEARL Clinic), we have certain additional requirements. See below “Our Subspecialty Clinics.”
- We do not see children for the following (see our list of possible resources in the community for these children):
- Short-term therapy (unless referred by a Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine provider in one of our subspecialty clinics)
- Sexual abuse/sexual aggression
- Abuse/trauma/posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- 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)
- 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.
- Child and Adolescent Latino Mental Health Assessment Clinic (CALMA Clinic)
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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, 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.
- The PEARL Clinic offers ADHD First Steps, a 3-session psychoeducation class for parents of children with ADHD. This class is available to patients both within and 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.
- 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 for medication evaluation. Please refer 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 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 Teensto 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.
- 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).
- Classes often run at full capacity and have long wait lists.
- 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 (parents of ages 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) (Spanish).
- Coping and Mood Management for Teens (ages 13 to 17 and their parents). Read more (PDF).
- School Avoidance Group (parents of youth of any age). Read more (PDF) (Spanish).
- 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 6 to 12 who have mental health 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).
- PATTERN - Parents and Tweens Tuning In, Engaging, Relating and Nurturing (children ages 10 to 13 and their parents). Read more (PDF) (Spanish).
*Per clinic discretion
- Classes are different than therapy groups.
- They are shorter 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 a cost associated with them.
List of classes:
- ADHD First Steps Parent Education Class. 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).
- Anxiety First Steps Caregiver Education Class. This 90-minute class is for caregivers of youth ages 2 to 17 who have problematic anxiety symptoms. We encourage teenagers to attend with their caregiver when possible. The cost is $20. Read more (PDF).
- Early Childhood Parenting Skills Classes. These free 60-minute monthly classes are for parents and caregivers of children ages 0 to 5 with behavior challenges. In these classes, experts from the Early Childhood Clinic will provide practical recommendations to promote child development and manage common behavior problems. Read more.
- Finding Mental Health Care in Washington State: A Class on Where to Start. 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.
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 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 (PBM Referral Intake Team).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.