Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit

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 17. 

PBMU DiningPBMU Living Room

Services We Offer

Our focus in the PBMU is to give your child short-term care during a mental health crisis. Our goal is to stabilize the behaviors that led to hospitalization and 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 prevent crises in the future. 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 follow a daily schedule to meet regularly with a variety of providers (such as doctors, nurse practitioners, therapists, and pediatric 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.


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




Advanced registered nurse practitioners


Coping cards

To Inspire Change, Javi Shares Her Mental Health Struggles (Video. 2:54)

Now 22, Javia Barria started struggling with her mental health as a middle schooler, and received care at Seattle Children's and other healthcare facilities. She shares her to story to support others going through similar challenges, and in the hopes of ending the mental health stigma and creating a more compassionate community.

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