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Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Contact number | 202-476-5980

Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Children’s National Hospital offers assessment, diagnosis and care for children and teens with behavioral, emotional and developmental disorders.

Every year, our specialists help thousands of children and teens through day treatment programs, outpatient assistance, inpatient care and emergency psychiatric services.    

Caring for Children and Teens with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Features of the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences program at Children’s National include:

  • Nationally recognized specialists. The Children’s National psychiatry team includes specialists nationally recognized for expertise in the care of children and teens with emotional and behavioral disorders. They also are educators and leaders in research, working to advance the understanding and treatment of complex disorders.
  • Family resources. We offer support to the whole family for the social, educational and emotional difficulties that often accompany psychiatric disorders.
  • Inpatient and outpatient programs. We offer comprehensive inpatient and outpatient psychiatric care through our numerous specialty programs with teams whose area of expertise is in working with patients with that specific condition. Families preparing to seek care at Children's National can review our intake packet and child history questionnaire
  • Comprehensive Research. Our team conducts research involving children and adolescents ages 6 to 17 with different conditions. Through these studies we can learn more about the factors involved in psychological and behavioral disorders and identify new treatment options and interventions for patients. To learn more about our current research and how to enroll your child in a clinical study, speak with your child’s doctor, nurse or a member of the care team.

Conditions We Treat

Psychiatric conditions we treat include:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
  • Bipolar disorder/manic depression
  • Dysthymic disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Feeding disorders
  • Learning disorders
  • Major depression
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Social phobia

Services We Provide

Each patient’s assessment is comprehensive and specific to the child or teen. To begin the process of emotional healing, our care team may use a variety of therapies in your child’s treatment plan, such as:

  • Behavior modification
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Play therapy
  • Psychopharmacology (the use of medications to treat mental disorders)

Our outpatient service evaluates approximately 1,000 new patients annually, with more than 17,000 follow-up visits each year.

The inpatient unit includes a 12-bed child unit and a 14-bed adolescent unit. Both units provide a safe setting where our team provides crisis intervention and stabilization.

We also offer psychiatry services via telehealth to help patients and families in farther communities access our expert care. 

Specialty Programs and Clinics

Psychiatric care requires the expertise of many highly specialized pediatric professionals working together. This includes close collaboration with our colleagues in Psychology and Behavioral Health, through multidisciplinary programs providing optimum inpatient and outpatient care. They include:

Emergency Psychiatric Evaluations

Be assured that at any time of day, our specialists are available by phone for consultation and for emergency psychiatric evaluations in the Emergency Department – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Our team of child and adolescent mental health clinicians care exclusively for children. Our specialists have the expertise to recognize psychiatric disorders in children and the experience to recommend the most appropriate next steps in care.

We assess patients in crisis and determine whether a patient would benefit from inpatient psychiatric services or can be safely discharged and seen at a follow-up visit with outpatient services.

If a child or adolescent needs to be admitted, the staff facilitates the most appropriate admission for each patient.

Please note that we do not provide medication evaluations in the Emergency Department.

Contact Us

For questions about Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences or to schedule an in-person appointment or telehealth visit, please call us at 202-476-5980.

Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Team