Children's Hospital Colorado
Pediatric Mental Health Institute
Pediatric Mental Health Institute

The Inpatient Psychiatry Unit at Children's Hospital Colorado

“Our daughter knows that if she gets out of control, Children’s Colorado is a place of goodness. It’s a place of understanding. She knows that if anything ever went wrong, she could go to Children’s, be accepted and get back on track.”
– Brenda Gaughan, Claire’s mom

About the Inpatient Psychiatry Unit

At the Inpatient Psychiatry Unit, our mission is to facilitate crisis resolution and stabilization. Our therapeutic approaches are integrative, including developmental, psychopharmacologic, behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic and solution-focused techniques.

Children aged 3 to 12 years who require psychiatric hospitalization are treated on the Child Psychiatric Unit (CPU); adolescents aged 13 to 17 are treated on the Adolescent Psychiatric Unit (APU).

How does the Inpatient Psychiatry Unit work?

Each child and family is assigned to a treatment team that consists of a child psychiatrist or advanced practice nurse, and a social worker or psychologist. Additional staff includes psychiatric nurses, mental health counselors and creative arts therapists. Children and adolescents receive a thorough psychiatric evaluation, and the treatment teams meet daily to consult on each patient.

Family participation is a required component of the program. We place a significant focus on identifying and working with services in the community, including school and mental health services that can provide ongoing support and treatment for families after discharge.

Why choose Children's Hospital Colorado for treatment?

The Intensive Services Program provides a supportive, structured program, including individual and family therapy, group therapy, behavioral approaches, medication management and creative arts therapy. Our psychiatric practices are based on best evidence and evaluated against research on a regular basis.

Our multidisciplinary teams provide diagnostic assessment services and treatment to acutely distressed children and adolescents who have emotional, behavioral, or combined medical/psychiatric problems, and who benefit from assessment, inpatient stabilization and disposition recommendations.

Specific conditions we treat

Symptoms that prompt a referral to the Intensive Services Program include:

  • Affective distress (depression, anxiety and mania)
  • Thought disorders
  • Behavioral difficulties (out-of-control anger)
  • Relationship problems
  • Attachment issues
  • Self harm (high-risk behaviors)
  • Suicidal tendencies

Services offered

Our services emphasize acute stabilization of psychiatric and behavioral crisis. We offer a multidisciplinary approach to care that is family-based.

Admission to the Intensive Services Program is accessed through Children's Colorado's Emergency Department or the Children's Colorado Psychiatry Consult/Liaison Team. After the evaluation, the Emergency Department will inform the family and patient of their recommendation. Insurance authorization will also be obtained, if possible, prior to admission.

Lengths of stay vary from 3 to 10 days for inpatient treatment, based on individual patient needs and treatment plans.

Contact the Inpatient Psychiatry Unit

Please call us at 720-777-6200 or in the event of an emergency or life threatening situation, dial 911.

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