Mental Health Resource Rundown: New Programs and Classes at Seattle Children’s
May 4, 2022
May Is National Mental Health Awareness Month
Seattle Children’s is bolstering its continuum of care for child mental health. In terms of prevention, at one end of the continuum, we are adding new classes that help parents and caregivers support their child’s mental health and recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems to intervene early. We are also filling in key gaps that have long existed at the high-acuity end of the continuum by creating intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) for kids who have been in crisis and stabilized, so they can transition home successfully with continued improvement rather than slip back into crisis. Our work with state legislators last year helped secure pilot funding for IOPs and partial hospitalization programs. New wins in Olympia this year ensured Medicaid covered the treatment starting in 2023.
New Classes for Parents of Young Children
Beginning in May, Seattle Children’s Psychiatry will offer a new monthly series entitled “Early Childhood Parenting Skills” for parents of children ages 0 to 5. Classes are virtual and free. The first class, “Child-Directed Play,” will be held on May 26 and June 4. Three other classes are coming soon: “Healthy Sleep Habits,” “Dialogic Reading” and “Functional Assessment of Child Behavior.” The classes’ parent education handouts may be resources that primary care providers would find useful to share with families in their practice.
- Child-Directed Play: English and Spanish
- Sleep Hygiene for Children: English and Spanish (together in a single document)
- Handouts for other classes will be added to the class website later
To learn more and register for classes, parents can visit the class website. As a reminder, Seattle Children’s Psychiatry also offers this new class on the third Wednesday of each month (English only but Spanish coming soon): Finding Mental Health Care in Washington State: Where to Start: A new free video class for families.
New Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for Kids With Anxiety
Our new Anxiety Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) led by Dr. Andrea Hartman serves patients with anxiety disorders who need support in addition to their weekly therapy and/or who have anxiety to such a degree that they are at risk for hospitalization. Patients attend therapy 3 hours per day, four times a week, usually for 8 to 12 weeks. We treat patients who have anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety/worry, social anxiety, specific phobias and school avoidance.
Eligibility: Kids are eligible for the Anxiety IOP if their primary diagnosis is an anxiety disorder and they fit one or more of the following criteria:
- Have a current outpatient therapist and have tried individual or outpatient therapy one to two times a week for at least 10 sessions but have been unable to make significant progress.
- Have severe symptoms or are at risk of needing treatment in a hospital or psychiatric residential facility.
- Have been in an inpatient psychiatric unit or psychiatric residential facility and need additional treatment that is more intensive than routine outpatient treatment or are at risk of being hospitalized again.
- Caregivers/parents must be able to participate for the duration of the program, and the patient and caregiver would need to be willing to participate in the program.
Capacity: The Anxiety IOP program is currently full with a short waitlist, but has rolling admissions. We encourage kids to get on the waitlist.
Referring your patient: PCPs, please refer the usual way and write “Anxiety IOP” on your referral.
Autism: Mental Health Resources for Spanish-Speaking Families
- New videos for Spanish-speaking families: Do you know a Spanish-speaking family who may be interested in sharing their experiences with autism spectrum disorder with other families? Seattle Children’s is working with community providers to create a new series of videos in Spanish called “Autism and My Family.” See our Autism 101 – YouTube for an example. If you know of a Spanish-speaking family who might like to be part of filming the series, please share our flyer.
- CALMA Clinic mental health services: Our Child and Adolescent Latino Mental Health Assessment and Treatment Clinic (CALMA Clinic) is open to Spanish-speaking parents and caregivers, including those with children who have autism. CALMA providers are experts in providing evaluation and evidence-based treatments that work best for Spanish-speaking children and their families.
Mental Health in Teen Boys
Depression and anxiety often show up in very different ways in teen boys and teen girls. A recent article in Care.com, Mental Health and Your Child or Teen: What to Watch for and How to Help (also available in Spanish), talks about the signs and symptoms to look for in teen boys, the pandemic’s effect and how parents and caregivers can help.
Stepped Care Is the Model of Care at Seattle Children’s
As a reminder of how mental health services are provided for many behavioral health specialties at Seattle Children’s, our stepped care model is outlined in this handout: Stepped Care Outpatient Psychiatry (seattlechildrens.org).
In stepped care, we begin by assessing the child’s needs and helping them set goals. Step 2 is treatment in a group setting. Following that, we can offer step 3, short-term individual therapy, if the child requires 1-1 help to meet their goals.
We do not offer long-term individual therapy at Seattle Children’s. If a patient still needs support after short-term therapy with us, we help them transition to an outside therapist.
For kids in crisis and/or who require hospitalization, we offer intensive services at our Behavioral Care Crisis Center, Emergency Department (ED) and inpatient unit (PBMU). This used to be where treatment stopped. But we are pleased to report that our new intensive outpatient program (IOP) offers treatment to kids after crisis to bridge the gap between hospital care and living back at home. IOPs typically offer group treatment for three to five hours a day, several days a week.
Reminder: No Outpatient Psych Services at Bellevue Clinic
Our Bellevue Clinic is no longer providing outpatient psychiatry services. Please refer patients instead to the main hospital campus or North Clinic in Everett for outpatient psychiatric care, or Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC) if they are an established patient there. Although currently 100% of our outpatient psychiatry services are via telehealth, as we gradually return to seeing patients in person the clinic you refer to will be important as not all services will be offered at all locations. As a reminder, you are always welcome to call our PBM Referral Intake Team at 206-987-2164, option 2, or email them at OutpatientPsychiatryTriage@seattlechildrens.org if you have questions. You can also visit our Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine’s Refer a Patient page.
Top Seattle Children’s Resources for Mental Health
Some of our favorite pediatric mental health resources for PCPs are:
- First Approach Skills Training (FAST) has two-page patient education handouts PCPs can offer families on depression, anxiety, disruptive behavior or posttraumatic stress. Access materials at FAST’s newly reorganized PCP page.
- Mental Resources Hub at Seattle Children’s: A well-organized offering to get families started.
- Washington’s Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens: Help finding a therapist.
- Finding Mental Health Care in Washington State: Where to Start: A free video class for families
- Primary Care Principles for Child Mental Health (PAL)
For even more tools and resources, you can explore the wealth of information we provide for patients and families on the Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine website, here.