Services We Do and Do Not Provide
Behavioral Health Crisis Care Clinic
What is the Behavioral Health Crisis Care Clinic?
The Behavioral Health Crisis Care Clinic offers families an option besides the Emergency Department when their child is having a mental health crisis. We will see your child for up to 4 visits over 2 to 4 weeks. At this time, our clinic only accepts patients referred by a Seattle Children’s provider. As our clinic expands, we will accept referrals from health professionals in the community.
Who can the clinic help?
We help children and teens having a mental health crisis that is not an emergency. Signs that your child is in crisis include:
- Talking about suicide without a specific plan
- Recent history of suicide attempts, without a current plan
- Thoughts about hurting others, without a specific plan
- A sudden change in mental status, such as unusual thoughts or beliefs
Is your child having a behavioral health emergency?
If your child or family needs help right away, go to your nearest emergency department or call your county’s mental health crisis number. In King County, call 866-427-4747. You can also text HOME to 741741. or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-8255, from anywhere in the United States.
Signs of an emergency:
- Your child is at immediate risk for self-harm.
- Your child is a danger to others.
- Your child cannot take part in safety planning to avoid self-harm.
- Your child cannot care for themselves.
- You are concerned that you cannot keep your child safe until they have an appointment.
Children with complex mental health issues may need to stay in the hospital at times. When other options are not enough to keep them safe, we treat children in our Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit (PBMU).
How will this clinic help my family?
We provide quick access to 1 to 4 visits. During this time, we will:
- Work with you and your child on a plan to stay safe and steps to follow that plan.
- Work with you and your child to assess current concerns.
- Assess which treatments are most likely to help your child.
- Help build skills to talk within your family about your child’s mental health needs.
- Help your child cope with stressful feelings and events and find safer ways to react.
- Support your family in returning to normal as the crisis passes.
- Link you to follow-up care.
- Coordinate with your child’s current therapist, if they have one.
Our goals are to:
- Avoid a lengthy assessment in the emergency department.
- Avoid a hospital stay unless your child needs it.
- Support your family and offer education about your child's behavior.
If your child is not in crisis but you need help finding mental health providers in your local area who fit your child’s needs, contact Washington’s Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens.
What to Expect
After you are referred to our clinic, we review your information to make sure our service is a good fit. If we accept your child into our clinic:
- We call to tell you about our clinic and see if your family wants an appointment.
- Our goal is to offer your family an appointment within a week.
- Your appointment will be at the outpatient Outpatient Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Clinic on Seattle Children’s main campus.
- Please come 15 minutes early to fill out paperwork. It helps if you bring any prior safety plans or mental health assessments.
- Your first visit is 90 minutes.
- You and your child will meet with 2 licensed mental health providers. These may be a psychologist, mental health therapist or social worker. During most of the visit, parents and caregivers meet with 1 provider while your child meets with another provider.
- At the end of each visit, we decide with you whether another appointment would help. We provide up to 4 visits.
Who’s on the team?
Licensed mental health providers in our program include:
Our team also includes psychology fellows who have a doctorate degree in psychology and have finished an internship. A licensed psychologist supervises them.
Mental health therapist
- Cathy Swanson, LMHC
- Leah Erickson, BS
- Sophie King, BA
After we receive your provider’s referral, we will call you to explain our clinic and set up a visit. We will give you a phone number to call if you have questions or concerns before your first appointment.
Providers: At this time we only accept referrals from Seattle Children’s providers. If your patient is in imminent danger of harming themselves or others, call 911 or have them call their county’s mental health crisis number. For noncrisis cases, our Partnership Access Line (PAL) consultants are available to discuss best practices for treatment and support weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.