Child & Adolescent Psychiatry - Outpatient Care

Raising a family is hard. Parents and children juggle school, work and family responsibilities as well as social relationships. Modern society has many challenges, with fewer resources to help.

If your child is struggling in school, feeling sad, acting too quiet, too loud, out of control or just not themselves - this may signal a problem. You may notice small changes, if any, that you or they cannot understand. These are all common reasons why people seek out mental health services.

We help children and families in crisis or struggling with complex diagnoses. We serve children from across New England, providing highly compassionate care in an innovative, patient and family-centered model. This includes partnerships with families, schools, primary care teams, state agencies and community partners,  

Get Connected

Outpatient Services: 617-665-3458

Referrals can be made by a parent, school, provider or a teen.

 

Services

Integrated Services in Primary Care

Your child’s primary care center is often the best place to start for mental health needs. Every CHA care center has behavioral health therapists, care managers and psychiatrists. They help understand your child’s health needs and may suggest medication or counseling. They also connect patients and families with mental health specialty teams for ongoing care.

During your primary care visit, your child may be asked about health risks like depression, anxiety, alcohol use, addiction and tobacco (depending on their age). This helps you connect them to services if and when they need.

READY (School-based Substance Use Clinic)

Kids with substance use issues who have actively used a substance within the past year have a place to turn to for help. READY services are available at the public high schools in Cambridge, Everett and Somerville.

Children must be registered at a public school in our service area (Cambridge, Everett, Somerville) or live in these communities. READY treats kids aged 2-18 (up to 20 if they are enrolled in the high schools).

Gender and Sexuality Clinic

It can be hard to find providers who understand the challenges faced by children who feel “different”. Children and teens often struggle when exploring their sexuality or when they realize their gender is not the one assigned at birth. At CHA, we are here to help. We are proud to serve sexual or gender minority (SGM) children, adolescents and their families.

Our clinic is a “safe space” with LGBTQ+ affirming support for people to explore and/or discuss their sexuality and/or gender with professionals who care deeply about serving this community.

This program is for youth who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, queer/questioning or those who need help with the process of developing their identity (gender and sexuality affirmative treatment).

As experts in LGBTQ+ care, we relate to our patients. We understand the complex issues of sexual and gender identity and how this relates with culture, language, religion, family and social relationships.

In addition to working closely with patients and (when appropriate) families, we work with primary care teams and specialists to provide whole person care. This includes close collaboration with Pediatric Endocrinologists for young transgender patients who want medical treatment.

Short-term Evidence Based Treatment

This clinic is for children up to age 18 with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress and/or mild to moderate disruptive behavior. This program helps youth who need short-term and limited therapy and might be experiencing early onset psychosis.

Recovery In Shared Experiences (RISE)

Expert care for children whose primary diagnosis is likely to be a psychotic disorder and have had symptoms of psychosis within the past 3 years.

Healthy Child Development Clinic

For individuals up to age 19 who 1) need help with diagnosing a potential developmental disability, 2) who have already been diagnosed with a developmental disability and need a review of treatment, and 3) children with complex psychiatric needs who need treatment by a child psychiatrist with neurodevelopmental expertise. The service may include Developmental and Child Psychological Testing.

Family Therapy

Helping children and their families communicate with each other and to resolve conflicts.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Clinic

Children who are deaf or hard of hearing can be seen by a Psychiatrist who is also deaf. Therapy and other clinical care using sign language and a service dog is trained in the unique needs of people with hearing loss. As part of this service, we provide clinical care at the Walden School for deaf children.

Threat Assessment Services

This program is for Cambridge Public School District only. CHA contracts with the school district to provide evaluations to learn if it’s safe for a child to return to school and to develop a support plan if one is needed.

Please note: Due to high demand, CHA primary care patients are given top priority for office visits, followed by others who live in Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Revere, Somerville and Winthrop, MA. If you or your child do not meet these criteria, we may be able to help you find another mental health provider near you.


Your Care at its Best

Knowing How to Help

Cambridge Health Alliance has been a leader in mental health for more than 20 years. Our child and adolescent psychiatry teams provide caring and compassion for the whole family. We also have deep connections within the community. This lets us recommend “wrap-around care” if your child needs it. Think of this like a big hug. Your child will get expert mental health care at CHA and beyond - helping them develop in a healthy way and giving them the tools to manage their emotions and any chronic health concerns.

Your Culture, Your Language

CHA is proud to serve patients from across the globe. That’s why we offer bilingual providers and interpreters in 75 languages, including patients who are deaf or hard of hearing. This awareness of cultural and language needs also makes mental health care more accessible for patients who may be hesitant to seek out these services.

Emotional Healing and Wellness

Staff at CHA genuinely and deeply care about children and their families during difficult times. We focus on the child’s strengths and build on them. We get to know them, work to understand their needs and how we can help them best so they can reach their fullest potential. We also use state-of-the-art research to inform our treatment plans.

Unparalleled staff

Most of our doctors and social workers are on the faculty of Harvard Medical School. This gives you access to some of the best clinical care teams in our convenient neighborhood care centers.

Common Conditions

  • Managing divorce
  • Childhood fears, anxiety or depression
  • Family conflict and arguments
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor grades in school
  • Withdrawal from family or friends
  • Drugs or alcohol use
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Body image issues
  • Sudden change of friends/activities
  • Chronic illness in the family
  • Unexplained anger or aggression
  • Disobedience or aggression
  • Self-injury or self-destructive behavior
  • Theft or vandalism