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 on Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s main campus, the Youth Crisis Stabilization Unit (YCSU) is a 10-bed unit designed to provide intensive mental health treatment to youth up to 17 years of age. Treatment is provided by the Behavioral Health service team. The average length of stay on the YCSU is approximately three days.

All treatment on the YCSU is focused on the critical needs of the patient and family. We encourage parents/guardians to stay with the patient throughout hospitalization and to actively participate in treatment.

What can you expect?

  • While staying at the YCSU, the patient and parents/guardians can expect intensive therapy each day. That includes individual therapy, family therapy and a psychiatric evaluation with medication management, if necessary.
  • Throughout the patient’s stay, YCSU staff work with the patient and parents/guardians to better understand the cause of the crisis, while teaching the patient how to manage similar situations in the future by increasing healthy coping skills.
  • Upon admission, the mental health team works to identify the individual needs of each family, while working together to create a detailed safety plan to help decrease the likelihood of future crises.

The YCSU significantly decreases the number of admissions to a higher level of care. Ninety seven percent of patients are sent back to their homes, connected to the appropriate level of outpatient behavioral health care.

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 Emergency Evaluation Center (PEEC)

The Psychiatric Emergency Evaluation Center (PEEC) operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in Nationwide Children’s Emergency Department and provides psychiatric emergency assessments for youth younger than 14 years of age. Youth 15-17 are encouraged to go to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Emergency Department.

What can you expect?

The patient will receive a medical and behavioral health examination in the Emergency Department.

  • The assessment addresses many parts of the patient’s life, including risk factors, personal relationships, home environment and outside support available to the patient and family.

Once the behavioral health assessment is completed, the Behavioral Health licensed therapist will work with the patient, the family and the medical team to determine next steps.

Possible next steps for an Emergency Department visit include:

  • Discharge home with a safety plan
  • Discharge home with a safety plan and a referral for ongoing Behavioral Health services
  • Admission to a higher level of care