teen mental health

Urgent care for mental health: UPMC Children’s opens behavioral health walk-in clinic for kids/teens

Photo above courtesy of UPMC.

It can be incredibly stressful for parents and children when a young person struggles with their mental health. UPMC Children’s Hospital has now opened an urgent care space where patients up to age 18 can be seen for a variety of behavioral health concerns.

The UPMC Children’s Hospital Pediatric Behavioral Health Walk-In Clinic is now open on the third floor of the main Children’s Hospital building. Created in collaboration with UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital, the clinic offers a welcoming space where young people can get assessed without an appointment.

“Therapists and psychologists will be available to see patients for targeted behavioral health assessments from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Along with a parent or guardian, children and teens can walk in and receive same day care, with no appointment required to have a one-time therapeutic intervention and connect the patient to behavioral health resources,” UPMC said in an announcement today.

“As the new school year begins, many children and teens can be stressed, anxious, or even struggling with their classes, which can cause parents to worry,” said Abigail Schlesinger, M.D., clinical chief of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Integrated Care at UPMC Western and UPMC Children’s. “We are here to help families through this and during any period of their child’s life. This clinic will offer support and partner with the child’s existing care team to continue providing safe resources at home and in the community.”

Along with visiting the walk-in clinic, families can also bring kids experiencing a mental health crisis to the emergency room at UPMC Children’s, where clinical evaluators can offer assessments and resources. Also, psychologists are embedded in the inpatient and outpatient settings at Children’s, and a behavioral health nurse clinician works with inpatients.

“Improving access to behavioral health for our children and teens is a priority at UPMC Children’s as the numbers are steadily increasing for this age group seeking this type of support,” said Diane Hupp, president of UPMC Children’s Hospital. “We want this to be another way for families to seek care in a pediatric setting and allow children and teens to feel safe to talk about any concern they may have.”

One note from UPMC: “The walk-in clinic does not replace Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) and is not appropriate for children who might need to be hospitalized. Individuals who are experiencing an extreme mental health crisis are encouraged to seek immediate medical attention at PES in UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital or at the nearest emergency department.”

Click here for more mental health information and community resources.