Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
It can be hard to know when to seek help for your child. UT Health Austin psychiatrists and psychologists provide compassionate personalized behavioral and mental health services for children and teens at Dell Children’s Medical Center. We diagnose and create personalized treatments for children and adolescents between the ages of 6-17 years old for a variety of mental health conditions including thought, mood and anxiety disorders.
Call to schedule an assessment to determine if your loved one is having a mental health crisis and needs help. This assessment is given by a trained behavioral health navigator and asks you a set of simple questions. Our navigators will help connect your child with the level of care that is right for your child and your family. Call us at 512-324-0029 24/7.
If you think your child is in crisis and might harm themselves or others, please call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.
Suicide Risk Assessment
For immediate and emergency assistance, please call 9-1-1. Our team is here to help guide you and those you love in recognizing signs of suicide risk and in getting immediate help to provide care and hope. It is important to know that you are not alone.
The Grace Grego Maxwell Mental Health Unit provides compassionate, personalized care for patients ages 6-17 who may be in crisis due to mental health concerns. Treatment takes place in our 24-bed inpatient hospital and brings children and teens back to a level of safety and stability so they can return home as quickly as possible.
Our interdisciplinary treatment team of Ascension caregivers at Dell Children’s provides immediate evaluation, 24-hour nursing and psychiatric care, medication as needed, and a plan for future outpatient treatment. Our team of experts — psychiatrists, specially trained nursing staff and licensed social workers — works with patients and their families to identify and help manage behavioral and mental health concerns and develop an individualized treatment plan to address these needs once a child returns home. Once stabilized, patients are encouraged to continue treatment through participation in one of our intensive outpatient programs.
When might a child need inpatient care?
Inpatient care helps children or teens who are experiencing significant and distressing symptoms of a mental illness and require immediate treatment. One of these symptoms may be risk of harm to oneself or others. If you think your child is showing such symptoms, please call our 24/7 acute crisis line at 512-324-0029. You can talk to a licensed counselor, who is qualified to understand your current situation and direct you to the appropriate services.
Key facts about inpatient care:
- Goal is stabilization of the symptoms to bring the patient back to safety.
- Treatment length ranges from four to 10 days.
- Includes individualized, family-oriented treatment, psychiatric management and psycho-education groups.
The Intensive Outpatient Program for preteens and adolescents is designed for the 11- to 17-year-old patient. This 20-session multi-family program utilizes both the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and cognitive behavioral models. These programs are for parents and children who need more support than traditional weekly outpatient services for symptoms including self-injurious behavior, anxiety, depression and conflict within the family relationship. These concerns may also include impulsiveness, depression, anxiety and explosive behavior. Together, children and their parents will learn communication skills, anger management, positive coping, mental health education and behaviors that enhance family relationships.
- Help recognize personal strengths and problem areas
- Develop and/or improve use of healthy coping skills
- Identify, challenge and modify distorted thoughts and beliefs
- Improve ability to problem solve and cope with emotional crises
- Improve communication skills
- Set immediate and long-term goals
- Complete structured homework assignments
- Develop an effective aftercare plan
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy core skills and other descriptions
The program includes multi-family groups (a parent is required to attend with teen), child-only groups, and parent-only groups each week. All programs occur in the evening. Times and days vary so please contact us at 512-324-0029. A licensed mental health counselor is also available 24/7 for more information or to schedule an assessment.
A psychiatrist is a doctor who specializes in mental health and emotional issues. Psychiatrists are licensed by individual states as physicians to practice medicine. “Board Certified” psychiatrists have passed the national exam given by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Psychiatrists may specialize in different issues or different age groups, such as children and adolescents, and provide evaluations and treatment that may include therapy and medications.
Some services provided by our psychiatrists include medication management and treatment to improve the ability to problem-solve and cope with emotional crises, improve communication skills, set goals and recognize personal strengths and address problem areas.
The Texas Child Study Center is a collaboration between Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas and the Department of Psychiatry of The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School. Learn more.