Child & Adolescent Mental Health Emergency & Crisis Services

It is always better to seek treatment before a crisis or emergency. But there are times when a parent needs help quickly - for example, when children can't calm down, are uncontrollable, or may be in imminent danger of hurting themselves or others. In these cases, it is best to call 911.

Contact NYC Well for Support

NYC Well has a staff of trained mental health professionals that can help callers find the most appropriate mental health and substance abuse services for their needs. Services include counseling, suicide prevention, crisis intervention, peer support, referrals to care, assistance in connecting to the referral, and follow-up services. NYC Well is free and confidential and operates 24 hours per day, 7 days per week via phone, text, and internet chat. NYC Well is multilingual and multicultural:

  • 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355)
  • 1-888-692-9355 (Español)
  • 1-888-692-9355 (中文)
  • 711 (TTY for hearing impaired)

You can also text WELL to 65173 or go to NYC Well, an online resource for individuals, families and agencies in need of help and information.

Hospital Psychiatric Emergency Rooms

This is the same kind of service that a family would receive in the case of a physical or medical emergency, but is intended for psychiatric or behavioral emergencies. Not all hospitals have psychiatric emergency rooms for children, but children can be evaluated in any emergency room and a decision will be made about next steps.

Who can get services?

  • Children, ages 18 or younger, with emotional and/or behavioral emergencies.

For more information, contact 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355).

Mobile Crisis Teams

Mobile crisis teams (MCTs) consist of professionals, including a psychiatrist, psychologist, nurse and social worker. These teams visit children in their home to identify problems and make recommendations for care. MCTs provide short term services (3-6 visits) to children with immediate mental health needs and may be the first form of treatment offered to children in crisis. MCTs are run by licensed mental health agencies, and they respond to mental health service needs within 24 hours of a call.

Services include:

  • Assessment
  • Crisis intervention
  • Supportive counseling
  • Referrals and linkages to services

Who can get services?

  • Children up to age 18
  • Experiencing or at risk of acute psychiatric crisis

How to access:

  • Family members, clergy, friends and others concerned about the child in crisis can contact mobile crisis teams directly.

For more information, contact 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355).

Home Based Crisis Intervention

The home based crisis intervention (HBCI) programs provide in-home crisis services to families when a child is at imminent risk of hospital or out-of-home placement. This service provides intensive in-home interventions for about 4-6 weeks in the child's home and community. Each counselor works with a small number of families. A counselor is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Goals of this program includes crisis stabilization, avoiding hospital or out-of home placement, developing problem solving strategies with the family, and linking the child and family to community-based resources and supports.

Services include:

  • Crisis intervention
  • Working on problem-solving skills
  • Individual and family counseling
  • Linkage to community-based resources
  • Case management
  • Medication evaluation and management

Who can get services?

  • Children between the ages of 5-18 years
  • Must have a serious emotional disturbance and be in crisis, but not requiring hospitalization.

How to access:
Referrals to this program are made primarily through an emergency room, walk-in clinic or mobile crisis team. Referrals can be made directly by contacting the HBCI programs.

For more information, contact 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355).

Intensive Crisis Stabilization and Treatment

The Intensive Crisis Stabilization and Treatment (ICST) program is a crisis service and combines components of the home based crisis intervention (HBCI) and clinic treatment to prevent hospital treatment of children in crisis. This program addresses the needs of children in psychiatric crisis who can also benefit from additional mental health treatment.

The purpose of ICST is to stabilize the child, provide in-depth individual and family treatment for up to 3 months, so that the child can be treated and maintained in their homes and communities, and provide links to children and family for ongoing support and treatment services. ICST programs operate in the Bronx and Brooklyn.

Services include:

  • Crisis intervention
  • Individual and family therapy
  • Clinic treatment
  • Case management services
  • Medication evaluation and management

Who can get services?

  • Children between the ages of 5-18
  • Must be experiencing acute psychiatric crisis

How to access:

  • Referrals can be made through emergency rooms, mobile crisis units, case management programs, social service agencies and schools/after school programs. Referrals can be made directly by contacting the ICST programs.

For more information, contact 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355).

More About Child/Adolescent Mental Health Crisis Services