Crisis Services

The Big Lots Behavioral Health Services at Nationwide Children's Hospital team provides comprehensive care for patients and families in crisis. We work with you to determine how to best handle the situation and to develop a plan for what to do once the patient is back home — all with safety kept in mind.

For more information or to request a new patient appointment, contact Nationwide Children’s Behavioral Health Intake Department at (614) 355-8080.

Franklin County Youth Psychiatric Crisis Line

For crisis situations that are not life-threatening, mental health and substance abuse crisis services are available for Franklin County, Ohio residents 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

  • Youth and adolescents ages 17 and under should call (614) 722-1800.
  • Ages 18 and older should call (614) 276-CARE (2273) or (888) 276-2273.
  • For people living outside Franklin County, please call your county’s psychiatric crisis line number. 

Youth and families already linked with behavioral health professionals should contact them or their crisis lines first.

What can you expect?

  • Calls are answered by a licensed therapist. He/she will work collaboratively with the family to develop a plan that addresses the immediate psychiatric concern.
  • The Nationwide Children’s licensed therapist will speak with all involved parties to determine the level of risk and the appropriate level of care.
  • If immediate intervention is not needed, the licensed therapist will discuss other possible options.
  • If necessary, the patient may be directed to an Emergency Department or local crisis center for a full assessment.

Providers, Families and Schools: Call the crisis line before directing an individual to Nationwide Children’s Emergency Department if possible. The Franklin County Psychiatric Crisis Line is staffed by licensed therapists who can help you develop a plan of action and identify needed resources.

Youth Crisis Stabilization Unit (YCSU)

Located in the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the Youth Crisis Stabilization Unit (YCSU) is a 16-bed unit designed to provide brief intensive mental health treatment to youth. Treatment is provided by a multi-disciplinary Behavioral Health team consisting of a care coordinator, masters-level clinicians, psychiatrist, nursing, parent support specialists and therapeutic recreation. The length of stay on the YCSU is on average between 3 to 5 days.

Treatment on the YCSU is focused on the critical needs of the patient and family, including the crises leading up to patient's admission. We believe to effectively manage the patient’s presenting crisis, parents or guardians need to actively participate in treatment throughout hospitalization and that the focus of treatment should be on the patient and their crisis. As part of treatment, the patient will not interact with other patients. Parents or guardians are welcome to stay the night as needed.

What can you expect?

  • While staying at the YCSU, the patient and parents/guardians can expect intensive therapy each day. That includes one-on-one therapy, family therapy, crisis intervention, a psychiatric evaluation and, if necessary, medication management. Group therapy is not part of the YCSU treatment plan. 
  • Throughout the patient's stay, the YCSU team works with the patient and parents/guardians to better understand the cause of the crisis and then guides the patient on how to manage similar situations in the future by increasing healthy coping skills.
  • Upon admission, the Behavioral Health team works to identify the individual needs of each family, while working together to create a detailed safety plan to increase safety and to help decrease the likelihood of future crises.
  • Prior to discharge, the Behavioral Health team will work to ensure linkage to the appropriate level of outpatient treatment.

Critical Assessment and Treatment

The Critical Assessment and Treatment program provides a range of services to patients and families in crisis. New patients may be referred to the Critical Assessment and Treatment program through Behavioral Health Intake or other Nationwide Children’s providers when there is a concern that the patient’s life is in danger or if there is concern for violence. Our clinicians specialize in crisis intervention. They will provide an urgent assessment to determine appropriate level of care, start safety planning and make a referral to an ongoing provider if needed. Sessions with Critical Assessment and Treatment will be scheduled until families are connected with an ongoing provider or until there is no further need for treatment.

What can you expect?

  • You will meet with a licensed therapist who has received specific training in suicide assessment and crisis intervention.
  • A diagnostic assessment will be completed in the first two sessions if one has not been completed already.
  • At every appointment, we will evaluate the current risk for harm to self or others and assess for the appropriate level of care.

What happens next?

  • The patient will be scheduled for on-going follow-ups on a weekly basis.
  • If a referral for an ongoing licensed therapist has not yet been made, the patient’s crisis provider will work with to determine which program or type of counseling may be the best fit.
  • Sessions with the Critical Assessment and Treatment program will be scheduled until patients are connected with an ongoing provider or until there is no further need for treatment.

Psychiatric Crisis Department

The Psychiatric Crisis Department at the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion at Nationwide Children’s Hospital treats children and adolescents for mental and behavioral health crises. It’s like an emergency room, but for children experiencing a mental or behavioral health crisis..

What can you expect?

  • You will be greeted by security when you arrive at the Psychiatric Crisis Department. You will need to present your driver’s license and insurance card.
  • You will go through a magnetometer (metal detector). Weapons are not allowed in the Psychiatric Crisis Department. Nationwide Children’s Hospital is a weapons free zone. Visitors are prohibited from possessing/carrying weapons in any Nationwide Children’s facility.
  • You will then enter through the double door entrance called a “sally port.” These doors are to protect the patients and visitors. The only way to leave this secured area is through a staff member.
  • Staff will guide you to the appropriate area.
  • Staff will assess and evaluate why you are there.
  • You will then go to the waiting area and wait for the mental health professional.
  • Patients are seen based on acuity (severity of the situation) and not on a first-come, first-served basis.

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