Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Between 7 million and 12 million American youth suffer from mental, behavioral, or developmental disorders at any given time. In many cases, younger patients referred for treatment suffer from not one, but two or three of the most common mental illnesses among children. For example, a young person might be diagnosed with both ADHD and depression.

At UT Southwestern Medical Center, our psychiatrists, psychologists, and other clinicians work to overcome the stigma associated with mental illness in children and adolescents so that younger patients receive early diagnosis and treatment.

Pinpointing signs of mental illness early is crucial for positive long-term outcomes in children and adolescents.


Our psychiatrists, psychologists, and other clinicians provide services on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Outpatient care is less disruptive to a child’s routine, allowing the child to continue with school and other activities. Children with more serious problems may require hospitalization.

We offer a variety of treatment settings, which allows us to select the most appropriate environment for each patient and, if necessary, help ease the patient’s transition back into his or her normal home and school environment.

Our treatment settings include:

  • A 12-bed inpatient unit at Children’s Medical Center
  • Day treatment, in which the patient remains in our outpatient clinical practice for eight hours each day
  • Outpatient treatment in a clinic setting
  • Partial hospitalization, in which the patient remains at the Medical Psychiatric Unit at Children’s Medical Center Dallas for 12 hours each day

Clinical Trials

Many extensive outpatient evaluations are provided at no cost for young psychiatric patients who are eligible to participate in clinical trials. With millions of dollars granted each year, researchers at UT Southwestern investigate depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, behavioral disorders, and use MRI technology to analyze brain activity.

The department is one of five centers in the nation to study – with funding from the National Institute of Mental Health – depressed adolescents who have attempted suicide.