Overview

Overview

Cleveland Clinic Children's Section of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry offers a comprehensive spectrum of mental health services for children from infancy through adolescence. Our pediatric psychiatric services are designed to meet the needs of children, adolescents and their families in times of adjustment or crisis.

Through collaboration with the Center for Pediatric Behavioral Health and the Section of Neuropsychology, the Section of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry offers a full range of psychological services.

What we treat

We offer outpatient, hospital-based and consultative care for the evaluation and treatment of problems such as:

Why choose Cleveland Clinic Children's?

Full-range of pediatric psychiatric services offered
  • Outpatient psychiatric evaluation.
  • Inpatient consultation for children and adolescents hospitalized with a primary medical diagnosis.
  • Inpatient psychiatric evaluation in a state-of-the-art unit at Fairview Hospital for children and adolescents with primary psychiatric and behavior disorders.
Inpatient multidisciplinary care

Each of our pediatric psychiatrists work closely with an interdisciplinary team of child and adolescent psychiatric nurses, social workers, special education teachers and occupational and physical therapists. Our team assesses each patient's needs and develops a specific, individualized treatment plan for them.

Consulting physicians available 24/7

Subspecialty providers from Cleveland Clinic Children's, including neurologists, endocrinologists, gastroenterologists and cardiologists, are available 24/7 for consultation.

Inpatient psychiatric consultation 

Psychiatric consultations are available to all medically hospitalized children and adolescents for assessment of clinical problems like delirium, adjustment to a medical illness, behavioral consequences of a serious medical illness and psychosomatic disorders.

Financial counselors and social services

Financial counselors are available to help with questions about insurance coverage. In addition, our social services department can provide referrals to community resources.

Make an appointment

Programs

Programs

Specialized Outpatient Services

Whenever possible, children and adolescents are treated on an outpatient basis. The frequency and duration of outpatient visits is determined on an individual basis. This approach provides the least disruption to a child's routine, allowing the child to continue with school, family and other activities.

Pediatric Psychopharmacological Consultation

This program is directed by a child and adolescent psychiatrist. It offers consultative and treatment services for childhood disorders such as:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
  • Tourette’s syndrome.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Depression.
  • Autism.
  • Manic depression.
  • Psychosis.

Specialized Pediatric Inpatient Services

Children with serious psychological problems may require hospitalization. Inpatient care includes comprehensive psychiatric, medical, family and educational assessment; crisis stabilization and development of a comprehensive aftercare plan. Parents and other family members are an integral part of the diagnostic and treatment process.

Gender Understanding, IDentity and Expression (GUIDE)

The Gender Understanding, IDentity and Expression (GUIDE) Program provides an evaluation and wide range of support and intervention for youth (childhood through adolescent years) who are gender questioning, gender non-conforming, gender fluid, or transgender, or who are struggling with any other issues around gender. Sometimes they are trying to figure out gender identity, or how they want to express gender; sometimes they may just feel like their gender assigned at birth doesn’t fit quite right. Our team works toward the goal of finding a path that is right for your individual child and family.

School Mental Health

School Mental Health

Cleveland Clinic Children's School Mental Health Program works in collaboration with local school districts to help students address the mental health concerns that can or are affecting their success (both academic and social/emotional issues). Our program's practice model is highly collaborative with the student's treatment team, which consists of Cleveland Clinic Children's staff, primary care providers, school staff, the student's caregivers and the student.

School Mental Health Program services include:

  • Triage/assessment of student's needs.
  • Referral to most appropriate services and service providers.
  • Mental health assessment.
  • Virtual Access Clinic.
  • Transition Bridge Program.
  • Counseling/therapy.
  • Caregiver (parent, guardian, etc.) counseling, education and support.
  • Psychiatric evaluation and treatment.
  • Training for school staff.
  • Participation in school meetings (504, ETR, IEP and others).
  • Collaborative care with the student’s current care providers (pediatrician/primary care provider, counselor/therapist and others specialists) and family.

Services typically initiate with a referral to our mental health navigator, a trained mental health professional. The navigator obtains information from the referral source (school staff, pediatrician/primary care provider, family member, etc.) and reaches out to the student’s primary caregiver to clarify their mental health needs. Based on the student's identified needs, the navigator will provide referrals for the caregiver to follow up with and/or schedule services. If the School Mental Health Program does become a service provider for a student, releases of information (ROI) are obtained so that services are provided collaboratively with the family, school and other service providers.

School Mental Health Program services are available to school districts that have an established formal relationship with our program. Current school districts who work with us include Cleveland, Lakewood, Solon and Strongsville City Schools. The services provided in each of these districts vary, with the most extensive program operating in Lakewood. In Lakewood, the School Mental Health Program operates in coordination with Cleveland Clinic Children's School-Based Health Care (which shares space in Lakewood High School), as well as other primary care providers, such as the Cleveland Clinic Center for Family Medicine, Neighborhood Pediatrics and Neighborhood Family Practice. Extensive involvement and collaborative work occurs with our team and the staff from all schools in the Lakewood City School District.

School Mental Health Team

  • Michael Carr, LPCC-S, LSW (Patient Navigator, Clinical Manager)  
  • Emily Slusarz, LPCC (Patient Navigator, SAMHSA lead)  
  • Ashley Penman, LISW-S (Counselor, Training Supervisor)  
  • Arianna Soika, LPC (Counselor)  
  • Robert Werner, PA-C (Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)  
  • Ayan Sanyal, MD (Center for Family Medicine, Collaborative Mental Health Clinic)  
  • Diane Zemba, RN (Psychiatric nurse)  
  • Molly Wimbiscus, MD (Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Director)  

Program Collaborators

Resources

Learn More

For more information about Cleveland Clinic Children's School Mental Health Program, please contact:

Michael Carr, LSW, LPCC-S
Manager, School Mental Health Program
carrm2@ccf.org
216.529.4405

Mood Disorders Clinic

Mood Disorders Clinic

A mood disorder is a mental health condition that primarily affects your child's emotional state. They can cause persistent and intense sadness, elation and/or anger. Mood disorders are treatable — usually with a combination of medication and psychotherapy (talk therapy).

Pediatric Mood Disorder Integrative Clinic 

Cleveland Clinic Children's Pediatric Mood Disorder Integrative Clinic (P-MeDIC) is a specialized site dedicated to the holistic well-being of adolescents struggling with mood disorders. The clinic provides a compassionate and comprehensive approach to address the unique challenges faced by young individuals experiencing mood disturbances, such as depression, bipolar disorder and other related conditions. The P-MeDIC is a rapid access clinic focused on evaluating adolescents and providing treatment recommendations including the next best step in treatment. Recommendations range but could include individual care, therapy referrals, intensive therapy programming, or referral into our shared medical appointment. 

At our clinic, we understand that adolescence can be a tumultuous period marked by hormonal changes, social pressures, academic stressors and familial dynamics. For adolescents navigating mood disorders, these challenges can be amplified, impacting every aspect of their lives. Therefore, our mission is to offer a safe and supportive environment where adolescents can find solace, support and solutions to reclaim their mental health and rediscover hope. 

Virtual Shared Medical Appointment 

The Mood Disorder Shared Medical Appointment (SMA) is a virtual group medication management appointment run by Cleveland Clinic Children's psychiatry team. The SMA is for a small group of patients (ages 13-18 years old) who struggle with depression. We've found that managing medication in this format helps alleviate mental health stigma, helps with feelings of isolation in illness and has been shown to improve symptoms quicker than individual treatment.  

Sessions are Tuesdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Each small cohort meets every two weeks for the first three months and then monthly afterward until completion of the curriculum at six months. The curriculum is constantly evolving, but currently includes: 

  • Psychoeducation on depression and depression treatments 
  • Sleep hygiene and healthy sleeping habits 
  • Physical activity
  • Behavioral activation
  • Substance use
  • Identity formation  

After completion of the curriculum at six months, the team will meet and discuss what next steps are necessary to continue to manage your children's mental health. For further questions, please reach out to Diane Zemba at 216.444.2191.

Dialectic Behavioral Therapy Skills Group

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidenced-based therapeutic modality that helps individuals with depression and other mood disorders learn how to be more present, develop healthy coping skills, manage intense emotions and improve relationships with others. Each week, patients learn a selection of skills within the four modules of dialectical behavior therapy: Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. Patients will engage in therapeutic activities to help achieve greater skill acquisition.  

Group details:

  • Meetings are Thursdays in person at Lutheran Hospital from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
  • Six consecutive weeks long.
  • Open with rolling admissions, participants may join any week.
  • Participants must be 14 to 18 years old, or currently in high school. 

In order for your child to be enrolled in the group, please call 216.444.5812 and ask to be scheduled as a new patient with Emily Cherney, LISW. Your child's current symptoms and your concerns will be evaluated and an appropriate group start date will be determined. Following completion of the group, you'll be given treatment recommendations based on your child's progress. 

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Lutheran Hospital's Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is a five-week therapy program for adolescents aged 13 to 18 years old that focuses on mood disorder struggles. The program uses intensive group therapy that focuses on CBT and DBT skills. The goal is to support patients in broadening their repertoire of coping skills, increase their capacity for self-awareness and decrease life threatening behaviors. Additionally, our group focuses on changing behaviors that interfere with mental health and quality of life.  

The IOP is designed to explore and address:

  • Unhelpful thinking and beliefs.
  • Emotional regulation.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness and mindfulness.
  • Adolescent interpersonal skills, intrusive cognitions and maladaptive behaviors improvement. 

While it's primarily a mood disorder group, it also focuses on skills that are helpful to address stress, anxiety, procrastination and trauma symptoms. The group meets virtually Mondays and Tuesdays from 4 to 7 p.m. and in person at Lutheran Hospital in the Medical Arts Building on Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m.

Assessment and treatment planning 

The IOP is committed to delivering high quality personalized behavioral health care for adolescents with a primary diagnosis of a mood disorder. Our assessment procedure includes a risk assessment for self-injurious behavior and levels of suicidality, as well as appropriate treatment planning. The team also uses the assessment to measure family support and identify stressors and individual strengths.  

Is IOP appropriate for my child?

IOP may be an appropriate support for your teen if they are: 

  • Struggling with anxiety and depression symptoms which are increasing or not improving with therapy.
  • Making concerning statements about self-harm, started engaging in self-harm or have frequent thoughts of self-harm.
  • Attending school and not having significant school absences due to mental health concerns.
  • Able to attend IOP daily for five weeks.
  • Not suffering with an untreated eating disorder. 

Enroll your child in IOP

Speak to your child's primary care or mental health provider about placing a referral through their medical chart. To self-refer or for further questions, please call 216.828.5400.  

Anxiety Clinic

Anxiety Clinic

Anxiety in children is considered a disorder if worries or fears interfere with their life for more than six months. It might be hard to tell if your child is anxious. They might be irritable or complain of feeling sick. Early intervention and treatment can help. 

Pediatric Anxiety Center CBT Skills Group

Cleveland Clinic Children's Pediatric Anxiety Center group offers help to teenagers dealing with childhood anxiety. Each week, adolescents learn about different aspects of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), while developing coping skills to help manage their anxiety more effectively. Teens will begin by learning more about anxiety and how it impacts their body and mind. They will then be introduced to the core principles of CBT and taught about the connections between their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Group participants will also learn about the different types of cognitive distortions (unhelpful thoughts) and how they can increase anxiety. Lastly, they will learn how to challenge and reframe these unhelpful thoughts to reduce anxiety. There will also be opportunities for participants to share their experiences with anxiety and practice coping skills in a group setting, develop a plan to support them in managing their anxiety and engage in interactive games that reinforce the new learnings.  

Group details:

  • Meets virtually on Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m.
  • Five consecutive weeks long. 
  • Each session lasts between 60-90 minutes (depending on the number of group participants).  
  • Groups are closed but offered consistently throughout the year; Participants will be with the same group members each week.  
  • Participants must be ages 13 to 18 years old. 

Group Enrollment 

Please call 216.444.5812 and ask to be scheduled as a new patient with Emily Cherney, LISW. She will evaluate your child's current symptoms and concerns and determine an appropriate group start date. Following completion of the group, treatment recommendations will be provided based on your child's progress. 

 
research

research

Project HOPE Study

Assisting in reducing anxiety and depression by utilizing a web-based application.

Have you ever asked yourself these questions?

  • How can I better control my anxiety, stress and depression?
  • What skills can I learn to help manage my anxiety and depression?
  • Is there an accessible and convenient method to manage my anxiety and depression?

Researchers in Cleveland Clinic’s Neurological Institute have developed a study to determine the benefits of a web-based application for adolescents with depression and/or anxiety along with the benefits for adolescents with and without chronic illnesses.

What should you know before you decide to participate?

  • A web-based application called SilverCloud will be used to help develop skills to aid in managing symptoms related to anxiety and depression in both healthy adolescents as well as adolescents diagnosed with epilepsy and diabetes.
  • Your participation in this research is completely voluntary.
  • The information that you provide will be confidential.

How can you participate?

  • Are aged 14-18 years old and a Cleveland Clinic patient.
  • Primarily English speaking with an increased level of depression and anxiety.
  • Have access to the internet and a device to access the application.
  • Have a diagnosis of diabetes, epilepsy or no chronic illnesses with anxiety or depression.

For more information, please contact SilverCloudHOPE@ccf.org.

Ketamine for Youth Suicidality Study 

Learn more about our First Randomized Trial of Ketamine for Youth Suicidality study

Our Team

Our Team

Selin Adams, MD
Selin Adams, MD
Associate Staff
Joseph Austerman, DO
Joseph Austerman, DO
Section Head of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Dara Coleman, CNP
Dara Coleman, CNP
Certified Nurse Practitioner
Meagan Houser, CNP
Meagan Houser, CNP
Certified Nurse Practitioner
Nico Jayson, CNP
Nico Jayson, CNP
Certified Nurse Practitioner
Zeyd Khan, MD
Zeyd Khan, MD
Associate Staff
Alexandra Pezzano, CNP
Alexandra Pezzano, CNP
Certified Nurse Practitioner
Barry Simon, DO
Barry Simon, DO
Child Psychiatrist
Jessica Ventura, CNP
Jessica Ventura, CNP
Certified Nurse Practitioner
Robert Werner, PA-C
Robert Werner, PA-C
Physician Assistant
Ike Wheeler, CNP
Ike Wheeler, CNP
Certified Nurse Practitioner