Mental Health Psychology and Behavioral Health: 202-476-5995 | Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences: 202-476-5980

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What is the difference between psychiatry and psychology?

It can be hard to know whether your child should see a psychiatrist or a psychologist.

Learn the difference

Mental health conditions are surprisingly common in children. More than 50 percent of adults struggling with mental health challenges started experiencing symptoms by the time they were 14 years old. At Children’s National Health System, we are committed to reversing this trend through specialized pediatric mental health programs that provide support to you, your child and your family.

More Effective Treatments for Mental Health Disorders

We offer a variety of specialized mental health programs, each of which offers age-appropriate, personalized treatments. These include:

At Children’s National, your child benefits from the combined services of our Division of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and our Division of Psychology and Behavioral Health. Our mental health specialists are developing and advocating for safer, more effective treatments for mental health disorders. We draw upon the latest research and our team’s expertise when designing a care plan for your child.

Highlights of our program include:

  • Expertise. Children’s National is home to some of the world’s leading pediatric mental health specialists. We have the expertise to recognize mental and behavioral health needs in children of all ages. Our team will work with you and your child to develop safe and effective treatments. 
  • Research. Our experts have a national reputation for leadership in clinical trials. Our extensive work in psychiatric research gives your child access to new medications that are only available in select programs across the country.
  • Family-centered care. We pride ourselves in delivering care that is respectful of your family’s beliefs and preferences. We always ask for your input in determining the best treatments for your child.
  • Leadership. Experts at Children’s National work tirelessly to improve mental health care access for children across the country. In addition to holding leadership positions in professional societies, our experts also advocate for children’s mental health needs at the national level. 

Comprehensive Access to Mental Health Services

Children’s National is proud to offer mental health services to children throughout the Washington, D.C., area as well as in communities across Maryland and Virginia. With so many points of access, we are able to connect children in need with life-changing care and support when they need it.

Our comprehensive access to mental health services includes:

  • Emergency consultation. If your child is in emotional distress (crisis) he or she can have an immediate evaluation right in the Emergency Department, any time of the day or night. Children’s National is the only program in the Washington, D.C., area with these capabilities.
  • Medical psychology. We work with children and families in programs across the health system to ease the emotional effects of a new diagnosis or difficulties with ongoing (chronic) illness. We help your child reduce stress and learn coping techniques so that he or she can focus on getting better.
  • Tele-psychiatry. Tele-psychiatry uses secure teleconferencing technology to provide access to Children’s specialized mental health care services from the comfort and convenience of your child's pediatrician's office. 
  • Inpatient psychiatry. Our inpatient psychiatry program is a safe haven for children and adolescents who require around-the-clock care.
  • Outpatient clinics. Our outpatient clinics offer a comforting and safe environment for your child to receive treatment.
  • Primary care access. We are reaching more children than ever, thanks to our participation and leadership in the DC Collaborative for Mental Health in Primary Care. This partnership makes it possible for children to receive screenings, evaluations and therapy in the same location they receive routine primary medical care in Washington, D.C.

Contact Us

For more information or to make an appointment, call our Division of Psychology and Behavioral Health at 202-476-5995 or our Division of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at 202-476-5980.

Mental Health Team

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Programs and Services

Pediatric specialists at Children’s National work closely to ensure an integrated approach to caring for each child and family.