A Parent’s Guide to the 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.

Featuring 24/7 psychiatric crisis care, it’s like an emergency room, but for children experiencing a mental or behavioral health crisis.

Call 911 if you are concerned about your child’s immediate safety.

Emergencies & When To Go

When should I go to the Psychiatric Crisis Department?

Go to the Psychiatric Crisis Department if your child has urgent mental or behavioral health concerns that need immediately addressed without medical concerns. You do not need to call ahead to come to the Psychiatric Crisis Department.

When should I go to the Emergency Department instead of the Psychiatric Crisis Department?

Go to the Emergency Department if your child has: 

  • Injuries
  • Bleeding
  • Become unconscious (passed out)
  • Swallowed something/overdosed
  • Breathing difficulties

Should I call 911 or head straight to the Psychiatric Crisis Department?

If you have concerns about serious injury to your child or others, call 911.

Where should I turn if my child is in a crisis situation that is not life threatening?

  • If your child is in crisis and would like to talk to a mental health provider, call the Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Franklin County Youth Psychiatric Crisis Line at (614) 722-1800.
  • If you do not live in Franklin County but you are connected with a Nationwide Children’s Behavioral Health provider, call the Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Franklin County Youth Psychiatric Crisis Line at (614) 722-1800.
  • If you do not live in Franklin County and are not connected with a Nationwide Children’s Behavioral Health provider, please call your county psychiatric crisis line or current behavioral health care provider for help in determining the best response.
  • If you do not know your county's crisis line and you or your child need immediate help due to having suicidal thoughts, go to your local emergency room, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

What happens if I go to the Emergency Department first but then I need to go to the Psychiatric Crisis Department?

A medical screening will be completed at the Emergency Department when you arrive. If you need to be transferred to the Psychiatric Crisis Department, staff will assist with transportation options.

What if I go to the Psychiatric Crisis Department first but then I need to go to the Main Campus Emergency Department?

A medical screening will be completed at the Psychiatric Crisis Department when you arrive. If you need to be transferred to the Main Campus Emergency Department, staff will assist with transportation options.

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What To Expect

How do I get to the Psychiatric Crisis Department?

The Psychiatric Crisis Department at the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion is located at:

444 Butterfly Gardens Drive
Columbus, OH 43215

Follow green signage for Psychiatric Crisis. Park in the Yellow Garage.

If you need help getting your child out of the car, enter the Yellow Garage and park in the green reserved parking spots on the first floor. Follow the instructions there for staff member assistance.

What should I expect once I arrive at the Psychiatric Crisis Department?

Your child is coming to the Psychiatric Crisis Department to be evaluated. A mental health assessment will help determine the best treatment plan. The child should be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Please make sure to bring your ID and insurance card with you to the Psychiatric Crisis Department.

  • 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 other than properly secured in their vehicle.
  • 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 with staff assistance.
  • Staff will guide you to the appropriate area, gather information about why you are there, and complete an evaluation.
  • You will then go to the waiting area and wait for a mental health professional to assist you.
  • Patients are seen based on acuity (severity of the situation), and not on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Visitors are limited in the Psychiatric Crisis Department. Public spaces are available for families.

Is financial assistance available?

No child will be denied care due to inability to pay for services. There are many programs that Nationwide Children’s offers to help provide financial assistance. We accept most insurance plans, including Medicaid. For all other patients, Nationwide Children’s has a sliding fee scale. Learn More.

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