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 typically on a weekly basis. We accept referrals from Seattle Children’s providers, emergency department providers, primary care providers, mental health providers, school health care providers, and caregivers.

Who can the clinic help?

We help children and teens having a suicidal crisis that is not an emergency. Signs that your child is in crisis include:

  • Talking about suicide
  • Recent history of suicide attempts

If your child's crisis does not involve suicidality, see our list of services for other options.

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.

“To be surrounded by such knowledge, information and expertise was a tremendous relief. They made the system more manageable. It gave us fast and furious access to services and psychologists.”

– Stephanie, mother of Xander

Xander at the beachXander began having thoughts of ending his life at age 9, but thanks in large part to the Behavioral Health Crisis Care Clinic, he’s now on the path to recovery. Read more.

What to Expect

If we have an opening within 1 week, we will review your referral. If your referral is placed from outside of Seattle Children’s, we will complete a screening with you to ensure our services are a good fit.

If we do not have an opening within 1 week, we will inform the referrer. At this time we have limited capacity and do not keep a waitlist in order to remain available for an urgent need.

If we accept your child into our clinic:

  • We call to tell you about our clinic and see if your family wants an appointment.
  • We will offer your family an appointment within a week.
  • Your appointment will be at the Outpatient Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Clinic on Seattle Children’s hospital 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:

Psychologists

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

Case managers

  • Leah Erickson, BS
  • Sophie King, MHA

Resources

The Behavioral Health Crisis Care Clinic is part of Seattle Children’s Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine. See more resources for mental health.

Contact Us

Community providers and caregivers may call us at 206-987-7480 or email us at crisiscareclinic@seattlechildrens.org to see if there is capacity and place a referral.

Please note, this is not a crisis line. If your child is in imminent danger of harming themselves or others, call 911 if you feel comfortable, or call your county’s mental health crisis number.

Seattle Children’s providers may complete an internal referral.

Providers: For non-crisis 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.

Paying for Care