Mental illness affects approximately 1 in 5 children. These illnesses often go undiagnosed for years, making them more serious over time. At McLean Hospital, we know the earlier mental health difficulties are recognized, the easier it is to teach children skills to overcome challenges and manage symptoms.
As the #1 freestanding psychiatric hospital, according to U.S. News & World Report, McLean offers care tailored to your child’s individual needs. We provide a range of self-pay and insurance-based programs for children and adolescents. Let our specialists make sure you find the diagnosis and care that are best for your child and get them back on the path to a happy childhood.
Fostering a Lifetime of Mental Wellness
Children and teens can struggle with any mental health condition, but there are a few conditions that are more often present in youths. Depression, anxiety and OCD, ADD/ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder, addiction, and personality disorders are common among youths.
McLean’s world-class care is available for children ages 3-19. We treat an array of diagnoses, including depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, bipolar disorder, and addiction. Our specialty treatment programs for kids and teens with OCD and personality disorders are among the best in the world.
Our treatment options range from acute crisis management to intensive outpatient and day programs, and more. Each program helps young people and their families cope with psychiatric illness and the challenges it often brings. McLean’s state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment are tailored to each child’s needs. Care focuses on symptom reduction and skills development. Patients and their families benefit from access to specialty consultation services throughout the hospital.
McLean’s child and adolescent services “catch kids in the act of doing the right thing so that you can praise them and raise their level of hope,” according to Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Gold. He also emphasizes that new evidence-based therapies have transformed the field. These include dialectical behavior therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and exposure and response prevention therapy. McLean uses these therapies to help children and teens build skills to manage their illnesses throughout their lives.
Expert Treatment at a Glance
- As a leader in child and adolescent mental health, McLean’s programs use proven treatments to help nurture skills that support growth and healthy functioning.
- Assessment occurs at admission and throughout treatment to pinpoint diagnosis and provide information to clinicians to create a customized care plan for each child
- Group therapy is a hallmark of treatment at McLean, giving young people the opportunity to work on skill building, learn about their diagnoses, and draw support from peers
- Family involvement is a crucial part of child and adolescent mental health to educate parents, caregivers, and siblings so they can support the child as they transition from care back to their home
- Medication consultation, when indicated, can be important to managing mental health, so patients meet with a psychiatrist as needed
- McLean offers academic programs and affiliations with academic institutions for youth who are able to focus on school while participating in their care
Young Minds, Still Growing
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 are able to deal with these challenges. Other children 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. Treatment is focused on supporting young people and their parents and families on the path to recovery.
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. Our expert clinicians and support staff teach 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.
Learn more about child and teen mental health conditions.
A Patient’s Perspective
Mary and her sister Abby struggle with anxiety and other mental health issues.
Learn more about their journey to mental wellness.
Supporting the Whole Family
Family involvement is a key component to youth mental health and ongoing efforts to support lifelong mental wellness.
Supporting a child who is struggling with their mental health can be a challenge for parents and caregivers. Treating a child also includes resources, groups, and support for family members and caregivers. This prevents burnout and other unwanted effects throughout the family.
It is important for parents to understand the mental health conditions and the steps clinicians are suggesting to best help their child. Parent and caregiver education is a regular part of child and teen care.
Parents and guardians are also often taught the same skills their kids are learning. This allows them to help the child to practice the skills outside of treatment and use the skills to manage challenging thoughts and behaviors. Support from parents, siblings, and other members of the child’s community is crucial to maintaining the gains from treatment.