Pediatric Behavioral Health


IF you or your child are in need of emergency care, CALL 911

IF you or your child are having a serious or life-threatening problem, CALL 911

IF you, your child, or others may get seriously hurt for any reason, CALL 911

IF you or your child are in need of emergency mental health care, CALL 911 or contact:

UMass Memorial Medical Center - University Campus
55 Lake Ave. North, Worcester, MA
Telephone: 508-856-3562

Emergency mental health screening services are available 24 hours a day for all ages.
Emergency Evaluation - Emergency Treatment  - Referral for Follow-up Care

The following situations may require emergency treatment:
  1. If a child eats anything with the intent, even momentarily, to die, even if it doesn't seem very serious.  It's amazing what is and is not toxic:  let the ER decide. It is always a sign of how badly the child is suffering.   (Tylenol is toxic.)
  2. If a child attempts to kill themselves in any way, even if no actual harm is done.  For example, deliberately cutting themselves, wrapping a rope around the neck with intent to hang (even if there is no further action),  walking along the road with the thought of jumping in front of a car, jumping out of a moving car, etc.
  3. If a child states a clear plan to kill themselves, even if it is said in anger or despair, even it seems manipulative.  "If you break up with me, I will take this bottle of pills" is worth a trip to the ER.  The ONLY exception is for commonly used figures of speech ("Oh, shoot me!" or "I'm so embarrassed I could jump off a cliff." but not "I'm so embarassed I think I'll drive down to Purgatory Chasm and jump off the big rock at the end.") Even if they said it to a friend and seem better now (some kids seem better because they've just taken an overdose and haven't told anyone).
  4. If a child threatens to kill someone and has a plan to do so, or is repeatedly talking about someone dying, or is found with a weapon.
  5. If a child repeatedly talks about dying and suicide, if they have become withdrawn and secretive, if they give away their prize possessions, and/or if they write goodbye letters of any kind.
  6. If the child appears to be interacting with people or things that  are not there, is behaving bizarrely, and can't stop (the way one might if caught up in an imaginary game) or seems distressed in any way.
  7. If the child is taking lamotrigine (Lamictal) and has a rapidly spreading rash, especially in or around the mouth.

If you cannot SAFELY get your child to the Emergency Room
(For example, your child is missing or seems out of control)
CALL 911 or UMass EMHS 508-856-3562

Police or an Ambulance can pick up a child and transport them for emergency evaluation if he/she appears to be a danger to himself or anyone else because of a mental illness. 

Explain to the police what the danger is and what the mental illness is and what you want them to do.  For example: "Please help me get my son to EMHS.  He has been depressed, he has threatened to kill himself and barricaded himself in his room."

To Access the Pediatric Behavioral Health Emergency On-Call Clinician: 

If you are not sure what to do, or if you are faced with a crisis that is not as severe as those listed above, or if you are on your way to the ER, please call the emergency clinician at PBH.

To Access the PBH emergency on-call Clinician, call the main number, 508-835-1735, and follow the instructions for the emergency line.  Leave a detailed message. The voicemail system will page the on-call clinician, who will call you back.  Be sure to leave a phone number!