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At McLean Hospital, we are committed to supporting young people and their families while they learn the skills they need to manage their mental health. From comprehensive treatment programs to robust support and education, we are here to help.
As the brain and body develop from infancy through adulthood, kids and teens may encounter an array of challenges. Some issues may be easy to solve, while others may result in crisis. Some young people have the ability to deal with these challenges, while others may need assistance to navigate their way through these problems. Child and adolescent care focuses on mental health symptoms and diagnoses as they apply to youth development and is focused on supporting young people and their parents and families on the path to recovery.
While children and teens can struggle with most any mental health condition, there are a few conditions that are more often present in younger individuals. Depression, anxiety and OCD, ADD/ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder, addiction, and personality disorders are common among youths.
Learn more about treatment programs at McLean, definitions of common mental health conditions, and resources like helpful links and books.
McLean treats children ages 3-19 for an array of diagnoses including depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, bipolar disorder, and addiction, and we also provide specialty treatment programs focusing on OCD and personality disorders and their accompanying symptoms. Our full complement of inpatient, outpatient, residential, and partial hospital services helps young people and their families cope with psychiatric illness and the challenges it often brings.
State-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment is tailored to each child’s needs and focuses on symptom reduction and skills development. Patients and their families benefit from our range of treatment programs as well as access to consultation services from specialties throughout the hospital.
Help your child feel more like a kid again. For more information about treatment options at McLean, please call 877.626.8140.
3East: Adolescent DBT Programs
McLean’s adolescent dialectical behavior therapy programs, collectively known as 3East, provide specialized care for teens and young adults who require treatment for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and emerging borderline personality disorder. The programs in the 3East continuum are specifically designed to accommodate patients in different phases of the treatment and recovery process, from highly focused residential treatment to outpatient care. We have intensive treatment tracks for both boys and girls, and our day program (partial hospital) and outpatient program are coed.
Child and Adolescent OCD Institute
OCDI Jr. offers intensive treatment for children and adolescents ages 10 to 18 with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), specific phobias, panic attacks, and anxiety disorders. Treatment plans are tailored to each child, with exposure and response prevention therapy as a main focus of care. Educational services are also available for children and teens to help our young patients keep up with schoolwork during their time at the program.
McLean Anxiety Mastery Program
At the McLean Anxiety Mastery Program (MAMP), we work closely with children and adolescents ages 7 to 19 who present with social anxiety, speciﬁc phobias, panic attacks, separation anxiety, agoraphobia, and obsessions and compulsions. Located on the campus of Sancta Maria Hospital in Cambridge, our self-pay outpatient clinic provides group cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) sessions with an emphasis on exposure and response prevention (ERP). These treatment methods help kids and teens learn the skills they need to understand and manage their fears and anxieties.
McLean-Franciscan Child and Adolescent Inpatient Program
The McLean-Franciscan Child and Adolescent Inpatient Program is a place for hope and healing for children in psychiatric crisis. Intensive psychiatric stabilization is available for children and adolescents ages 3 to 19. Located in Brighton, Massachusetts, we offer expert assessment and inpatient mental health treatment in a safe and nurturing environment. The goal of the program is for each child and adolescent to successfully return to his or her home, school, and community.
Adolescent Acute Residential Treatment (ART) Program
The Adolescent Acute Residential Treatment (ART) Program provides intensive, short-term, and highly focused psychiatric care for teens and young adults through age 19 with emotional and behavioral difficulties. With a length of stay between 10 and 14 days, this insurance-based residential program focuses on stabilizing adolescents in acute crisis.
Support, Treatment, and Resilience (STAR) Program
The STAR Program delivers high-quality outpatient care to teens and young adults ages 14-25 who are at risk of psychotic illnesses. The program offers individual therapy and psychiatric treatment for young people who are experiencing changes that impact thinking, emotions, behavior, and functioning. Although changes like these do not always indicate a first episode of psychiatric illness, they may place a person at increased risk of developing psychosis.
Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services
At McLean Hospital, we recognize the challenges children and adolescents with mental health conditions face. Through our Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services, located on the campus of Sancta Maria Nursing Facility in Cambridge, we are focused on helping young people and their families cope with mental illness. Our outpatient care includes individual and group therapy focused on an array of mental health diagnoses.
McLean Hospital’s Arlington School is an exceptional, nationally recognized college preparatory high school that integrates strong academics with clinical support for students with mental health issues that can interfere with their education. We provide a safe and supportive community where students grow academically, heal and thrive emotionally, assume greater responsibility for their learning, and work toward personal goals.
Pathways Academy is a year-round, therapeutic, day school developed to meet the social, sensory, psychological, and educational needs of children and adolescents ages 6 through 22 with autism spectrum disorders. Our students may struggle with social pragmatic (social communication) difficulties, sensory challenges, and difficulty meeting typical school expectations. Students may also have co-occurring psychiatric diagnoses, including depression, social and academic anxiety, and other disorders.
McLean School Nurse Liaison Project
The McLean School Nurse Liaison Project strives to offer similar support to promote pediatric mental health in schools. Recognizing school staff as key players in the health and well-being of school children, we offer educational and consultation services, at no cost to the districts served.
College Mental Health Program
The College Mental Health Program helps college students with mental illnesses and adjustment issues live more productive lives. We provide the highest level of mental health care, working closely with college student-patients, their families, and their institutions of higher education to ensure the greatest probability of academic and personal success.
Find more information on child and adolescent mental health care at McLean:
While the brain is still developing, mental health care can be a challenge. The therapies and treatments that work for adults might not fully address the same issues in a child. The treatment concepts might be confusing to a young mind. Child and adolescent care focuses on using methods that help kids and teens to develop skills to manage their illnesses in a way that they can understand and can build upon as they get older.
You may find these organizations and their websites useful to learn more about child and adolescent mental health.
If you or someone you know needs help:
These organizations also offer suicide prevention resources:
McLean Hospital faculty have penned more than 50 books in recent years, including these books about child and adolescent mental health.
Fighting Back: What an Olympic Champion’s Story Can Teach Us About Recognizing and Preventing Child Sexual Abuse—and Helping Kids Recover
Kayla Harrison, Cynthia S. Kaplan, and Blaise Aguirre
(Guilford Press, 2018)
The Autism Inventory of Development (AID): An Assessment Tool for Parents and Professionals
by Roya Ostovar, PhD
(Future Horizons, Inc., 2017)
Parenting Your Child With Autism: Practical Solutions, Strategies, and Advice for Helping Your Family
by Anjali Sastry and Blaise Aguirre, MD
(New Harbinger, 2012)
Textbook of Autism Spectrum Disorders
by Eric Hollander, MD, Alexander Kolevzon, MD, and Joseph T. Coyle, MD, eds.
(American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc., 2011)
The Ultimate Guide to Sensory Processing Disorder
by Roya Ostovar, PhD
(Sensory World, 2010)
The Joy of Parenting: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Guide to Effective Parenting in the Early Years
by Lisa Coyne, Amy R. Murrell
(New Harbinger Publications, 2009)
Helping Teens Who Cut: Understanding and Ending Self-Injury
by Michael Hollander, PhD
(Guilford Press, 2008)
Helping Your Troubled Teen: Learn to Recognize, Understand, and Address the Destructive Behavior of Today’s Teens and Preteens
by Cynthia Kaplan, PhD, Blaise Aguirre, MD, and Michael Rater, MD
(Fair Winds Press, 2007)
McLean offers treatment for individuals throughout the life span: