School age and adolescence are crucial life stages for mental health. In fact, some mental health disorders, such as anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression are common during childhood. At MetroWest Medical Center, we have
a child development unit (CDU), located at Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick, that provides specialized pediatric mental health services.
Our child development unit features:
A 17-bed locked, inpatient unit exclusively for children 3-17 including five brand new beds that were added in April 2021
A compassionate environment that focuses on children’s strengths rather than their weaknesses
Group therapy sessions
Mental Health Problems in Children and Adolescents
According to the World Health Organization, 10-20% of children and adolescents on a global scale experience mental health conditions. Half of these mental health conditions normally start at age 14.
Some of the most common mental health issues in children and adolescents include:
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Conduct disorder (CD)
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Parents should watch out for the following warning signs of mental health issues in children:
Decline in personal care (not concerned with his/her hygiene)
Feeling extremely sad
Frequent outbursts of anger
Not wanting to do the things he/she used to enjoy
Oversleeping or not being able to sleep
Severe mood swings
Showing obsession with his/her weight
The following factors may increase a child’s risk for a mental health condition:
A chronic physical illness
A family history of mental health problems
A history of physical or sexual abuse
Death of someone close to the child
Divorce or separation of parents
Experiencing discrimination (i.e., because of race, sexuality, religion, etc.)
Experiencing struggles in studying (i.e., failing grades, etc.)
Poverty or being homeless
Suffering from bullying
Taking on adult responsibilities
Our Pediatric Mental Health Services
Our child development unit at Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick is a statewide leader for preventing the use of restraining and seclusion in children’s mental health care. We have an experienced team of board-certified child psychiatrists, nurses
and staff who provides pediatric mental health services that aim to address the specific needs of our patients. These services may include:
Individual, group and family therapy
Access to our 24-hour crisis assessment team
We also have on-site tutors who work with outside agencies and schools so children learn continuously as they receive care.
If your child is showing signs of a mental health condition, please schedule an appointment with one of our child psychiatrists as soon as possible. Mental disorders can take a toll in a child’s life and may even lead to life-threatening circumstances,
so please do not take them lightly.
In case of a psychiatric emergency, such as a suicide attempt or a violent behavior, please immediately call our 24-hour crisis assessment team at 508-650-7339. Doctors may also refer patients through this
phone number. Your safe care is our #1 priority.
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