Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine

All Articles in the Category ‘Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine’

SAFES Program Offers Rapid Psychotherapy Interventions to Kids Experiencing Suicidality in Underserved Areas of Washington

Seattle Children’s wants primary care providers in Eastern Washington to know about a new program called Supporting Adolescents and Families Experiencing Suicidality (SAFES). SAFES provides rapid psychotherapy interventions to 12- to 18 year-olds in underserved areas of Washington state who are experiencing a suicidality crisis that does not require an Emergency Department (ED) visit. The program is based on the Crisis Care Clinic model developed at Seattle Children’s.


Refer a Patient: A patient’s PCP can call to speak with a child psychiatrist at the Partnership Access Line (PAL) at 866-599-7257. See SAFES flyer.


Patient Eligibility Criteria:

  • Must live in a Washington state eligible county (Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Grant, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pen Oreille, Spokane, Stevens)
  • Age 12 to 18
  • Patient’s primary care provider has active concerns for suicidality, but child is not severe enough to need an ED visit
  • Child should not be engaged in other mental health services unless the current therapist/provider cannot safely handle the child in the community


Please note there are currently no insurance restrictions.


SAFES is funded through a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration administered by Washington State Department of Health.

For more information please email: [email protected].

Psychiatry Department’s New Behavior and Attention Management Program Aims to Serve Families Faster, Better

We are excited to announce that Seattle Children’s new Behavior and Attention Management Program is offering a wide range of integrated services for youth ages 5 to 15* with disruptive behavior or attention problems.

The Behavior and Attention Management Program follows a stepped care model built around group-based parent behavior management training (children are required to participate only in limited instances). Research shows that providing training and support for caregivers on healthy, safe and effective behavior management strategies is the best therapeutic approach to help youth struggling with behavior or attention.

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New Algorithms and Pathways: Eating Disorders, Head Shape and Febrile Seizure

Eating Disorders

The Adolescent Medicine team, in partnership with the Department of Psychiatry, at Seattle Children’s has created an eating disorders algorithm to help PCPs know when and how to refer patients with disordered eating to Adolescent Medicine, Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine (Psychiatry) or, in some cases, both.

Dr. Yolanda Evans, Adolescent Medicine, Eating Disorders Recovery Program

“We have a very high number of kids coming to our program for care, and our referral processes have changed over the last year as we’ve made care more accessible,” says Dr. Yolanda Evans. “We hope this new algorithm will clarify the referral process and help kids get their care started as quickly as possible.”

Patients referred to Psychiatry will meet with a clinical psychologist initially. If medication evaluation is needed, a separate appointment will be made with a prescribing provider (either an ARNP or psychiatrist).

“If the referring provider knows at the outset that their patient will need medication evaluation, they can submit 2 separate referrals initially to Psychiatry to speed up the process – one for the behavioral health evaluation with the psychologist and a second referral for medication evaluation with our psychiatrist or ARNP,” says Dr. Evans.

For those referring providers who request management of physiologic complications from malnutrition, all patients referred to Adolescent Medicine will receive a one-time telehealth consultation with a medical provider after which families will be offered support and resources to continue the patient’s care, either at Seattle Children’s if appropriate and care is available, or in the community. The Eating Disorders team will share the after-visit information with the referring provider to help guide continuing care of their patient.

The eating disorders algorithm is available along with 65+ other condition-specific resources for PCPs at

As a reminder, when referring a patient for eating disorders, please include their growth charts and exam notes. You do not need to send labs or an ECG; we removed this requirement last year to reduce work for PCPs and help patients be seen sooner.

For more details about referral requirements and additional resources for PCPs, please visit our Eating Disorders – Refer a Patient page. You may also like to read “Treatment for Eating Disorders: A Q&A and Case Study by Robyn Evans, ARNP” from our March 2022 issue of Provider News.


Head Shape

Seattle Children’s Craniofacial team has created a head shape algorithm to help PCPs evaluate and refer their patient to either Craniofacial or Physical Therapy depending on their presentation.

For infants under 4 months who have positional plagiocephaly or positional brachycephaly but don’t have limited range of motion or neck tilt, the algorithm recommends repositioning strategies with reassessment at 4 months. However, these babies are welcome to be referred directly to Craniofacial if the provider feels they need to be evaluated before 4 months. Repositioning resources are available on the Seattle Children’s website, with links provided in the algorithm.


Febrile seizure pathway

Seattle Children’s has updated its clinical standard work pathway for febrile seizure; find it here. Key changes include updated admit criteria and risk of intracranial infection guidance. Additional clinical standard work pathways for dozens of other conditions are available on our website.

Mental Health: Talking With Patients and Families About Suicide

Conversations with Families About Suicide Prevention and Safe Firearm Storage

September is Suicide Prevention Month and a timely reminder that there are many ways providers can help identify and support youth who are struggling with mental health issues and suicidal ideation. 

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Washington’s Free Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens: Update on Wait Times for Families and BIPOC Provider Access

Washington’s free referral service connecting kids with mental health therapists has expanded this year to meet rising demand. With new state funding, Washington’s Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens this summer added two referral specialists and an intake coordinator.

Wait times: Currently, the service is able to schedule an intake call for families with Medicaid within a few days to a week of the initial request. Privately insured families typically will have an intake appointment within two weeks. Times are subject to change.

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New Spanish-Language Class for Families: Where to Start When Looking for Mental Health Care

Seattle Children’s is now offering our recently introduced class, “Finding Mental Health Care in Washington State: A Class on Where to Start,” in Spanish too. The class will be offered virtually (on Zoom) starting in July. It is a live class and includes a question-and-answer session.

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Generation REACH: A Year of Progress Toward Transforming Youth Mental Health

Last May, Seattle Children’s launched Generation REACH, a multifaceted initiative based on the simple yet transformative premise that child health always includes mental health.

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Eating Disorders Clinic Offers New Intensive Outpatient Program

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new intensive outpatient program (IOP) at Seattle Children’s for patients with eating disorders. The Eating Disorders IOP is designed for children and youth with high-acuity eating disorders who don’t require inpatient care but need more than typical outpatient care can provide.

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Mental Health Resource Rundown: New Programs and Classes at Seattle Children’s

May Is National Mental Health Awareness Month

Seattle Children’s is bolstering its continuum of care for child mental health. In terms of prevention, at one end of the continuum, we are adding new classes that help parents and caregivers support their child’s mental health and recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems to intervene early. We are also filling in key gaps that have long existed at the high-acuity end of the continuum by creating intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) for kids who have been in crisis and stabilized, so they can transition home successfully with continued improvement rather than slip back into crisis. Our work with state legislators last year helped secure pilot funding for IOPs and partial hospitalization programs. New wins in Olympia this year ensured Medicaid covered the treatment starting in 2023.

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Big Wins for Kids in 2022 State Legislative Session

We are pleased to report that Seattle Children’s and its allies came away from the 2022 Washington state legislative session with a number of important achievements.

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