8 Ways Children's National Hospital Prioritizes Kids' Mental Health

Company Facility Dog

Negar, mom to Children’s National Hospital patient, Ryan, knows firsthand how much mental health support for the whole family matters. When she felt scared and alone in navigating Ryan’s health complications, a social worker provided the comfort and resources she needed.


In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month this May, we celebrate how Children’s National supports the mental health of patients and families like Negar and Ryan. Here are 8 ways we help kids grow up stronger:


1. World-Class Care

Children and teens who experience depression, anxiety and other mental and behavioral health challenges receive world-class care through our Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine units and outpatient care.


LaKeisha brought her daughter, Taylor, who was experiencing anxiety, to the Early Childhood Behavioral Health Program at Takoma Theatre. “Seeing Taylor get back to being herself and knowing we had a support system provided a huge relief,” LaKeisha says. “Mental health is so important for kids. For Taylor, it means she’s back to living her life.”


2. Whole Bear Care

Whole Bear Care offers behavioral health services at the same convenient location as a child's primary care provider. The integrated approach treats mental health as part of a full care plan for a healthy mind and body.


3. Clark Parent & Child Network

Mental health care, from screenings and interventions to special programs, starts early. Our Clark Parent & Child Network supports parents to help their kids bloom. We start with mental health screenings during a mom’s pregnancy, then follow caregivers and babies until age 3.


The DC Mother-Baby Wellness program, also supported by the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, boosts resilience among new and expectant mothers and their babies. In April, the innovative program celebrated 1,000 referrals


4. Research


Groundbreaking research at Children’s National includes a focus on mental health. Clinical trials unlock new discoveries that help improve care and treatments for kids.


5. Mindful Mentors


Mindful Mentors teach patients how to cope with anxiety during hospitalization. Our care providers also use these tools to manage their own stress and recharge. You can find the same calm and focus through this audio library of meditation exercises, curated by our expert team.


6. Art and Music Therapy


Patients and families enjoy creative therapies as an outlet to express themselves and achieve wellness. Soothing sounds and colorful palettes invite kids to find relief in sensory activities.


7. Pet Therapy


Our Animal Visitation and Therapy Program brings joy and comfort to patients, families and even staff. Facility dogs like Company provide companionship to help kids through tough times. A furry friend is always just one hug away.


8. Bunny Mellon Healing Garden


The Bunny Mellon Healing Garden at the hospital offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature. A patient’s last wish to go outside inspired this space where patients, families and staff find fresh air, peace and renewed hope. 


Thanks to generous donor support, patients and families can find paths to healing at Children’s National throughout our community.

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