Children with complex mental health issues may need to stay in the hospital at times. When this happens, we have a Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit (PBMU) with 41 beds where we treat children from ages 3 to 18. We also see people age 19 to 21 who are developmentally delayed and in crisis.

Services We Offer

Our focus in the PBMU is to give your child short-term care during a mental health crisis. From the time your child comes into the hospital, we follow a set of steps (called a clinical pathway) based on your child’s diagnosis. The steps are designed to stabilize your child’s behavior and to teach your child and family skills that can help after your child leaves the hospital. These skills can help you and your child cope and help you prevent crises in the future. 

While in the PBMU, your child will meet regularly with a variety of providers (such as doctors, therapists and childhood mental health specialists) and participate in groups with other children throughout the day. In general, the PBMU is a unique psychiatric setting focused on providing safe, evidence-informed care. Our behavioral management philosophy and training is seclusion and restraint-free, meaning that we strive to avoid “hands-on” interventions at all times.

We also make plans with you to get any ongoing care your child will need when they leave here.

You play an important role in helping your child succeed back at home, in school and in your community. So we want you to take part in all aspects of your child’s care in the PBMU, like education sessions and family evaluations. Your child’s care team will talk with you about any services that may be helpful. We invite you to tell us things that will help us know and care for your child.

When your child is ready to leave Seattle Children’s, the PBMU team provides support for your child and family to make the return as easy as possible. We also follow up later to ensure the plans made in the hospital are being carried out.


To take complete care of your child, we have people on our team from many areas of healthcare, including dietitians, educators, nurses, occupational therapists, childhood mental health specialists, doctors, psychologists and speech and language specialists.



Advanced registered nurse practitioners


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