Children’s Hospital New Orleans Pediatric Psychiatry

Mental health services

The Psychiatry Department provides consultative services for children with mental health disorders. This includes emergency psychiatric evaluations for patients with physical illnesses that show symptoms of mental health issues. In addition, the department provides crisis outpatient evaluations and time-limited psychiatric care to referrals from the Children’s Hospital Emergency Department and the Children’s Hospital Inpatient Behavioral Health Center. We also offer longitudinal care to patients struggling with autistic spectrum disorders. The department collaborates with the Psychology and Social Services departments to provide and facilitate mental health assessments, treatment and referrals.

What this means for your child

It can be alarming to learn that your child has a mental health or behavioral health disorder. An important thing to remember is that diagnosing these conditions is intended to help your child. By understanding what’s causing a child’s strange or aggressive behavior, we can work with them to help find new ways of interacting with and understanding the world around them.

Diagnosing mental health disorders in children is not always easy. Children do not respond to emotions the way adults do, and throwing temper tantrums or becoming “unreasonably” upset is fairly normal. You should discuss concerns with your child’s primary care pediatrician if you notice any behaviors that worry you.

Some signs parents are advised to watch out for include:

  • Sudden changes in appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Mood swings
  • Feelings of intense fear or anxiety
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches
  • Frequent mentions of death or suicide
  • Social withdrawal
  • Intense sadness that lasts for more than two weeks

Keep in mind that it can be difficult to determine what is “normal” for a child or teenager. Do not over analyze symptoms or attempt to press your child for conversations they do not want to have. Many mentally healthy children and teenagers are private people. Discuss your concerns with a doctor before drawing conclusions.

For more information about Psychiatry Services at Children’s Hospital New Orleans, call our office at 504.896.7200.