UnityPoint Health - Madison

Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Children and adolescents can experience severe emotions, feelings or behaviors that cause problems in their lives and the lives of those around them. These problems may require the help of mental health professionals. UnityPoint Health – Meriter – Child and Adolescent Psychiatry provides sensitive, responsive and innovative treatment for youth with mental health problems and disorders.

In the United States, an estimated 11 percent of children age 9-17 have diagnosable psychiatric or addictive disorders that cause significant functional impairment. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for teens.

Our Facility

UnityPoint Health – Meriter offers the only community-based inpatient child and adolescent psychiatry program in south central Wisconsin. Dedicated to meeting the unique needs of children and teens who require inpatient psychiatric care, our Child and Adolescent Psychiatry facility is located in southwest Madison. Our 20-bed inpatient facility offers:

  • A secure and closely monitored setting
  • Private rooms
  • A classroom for ongoing academic instructions
  • Gym and outdoor recreational space
  • A calming room

Clinical Staff

Our highly regarded team has specialized training and experience in the area of child and adolescent mental health treatment. The treatment team includes child and adolescent psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, occupational and recreational therapists, social workers, mental health specialists and certified teachers.

Conditions We Treat

Our Child and Adolescent Psychiatry program treats patients affected by a variety of psychiatric illnesses; common patients concerns include:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Bipolar disorders (manic-depressive illness)
  • Social withdrawal
  • Self-harming behaviors
  • Attention and concentration difficulties
  • Phobias and other anxiety disorders
  • Thought disorders

Clinical Assessments and Screenings

Our personalized program begins with a full evaluation by a board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist to identify the scope and severity of problems. Depending on each patient's symptoms, assessments may include any of the following:

  • Diagnostic clarification
  • Medication management
  • Living and functional skills assessments
  • Sensory assessment
  • Neuro-psychological testing
  • Additional medical testing, including lab evaluations and medical imaging

Therapeutic Activities Offered

Based on evaluation results, our hospital staff works with the patient's psychiatrist and family to develop an individualized treatment plan. Treatment ranges from intensive one-on-one counseling to group activities. Typical treatment activities include:

  • One-on-one support and counseling
  • Crisis intervention with a focus on recovery
  • Problem-solving
  • Training in assertive communication
  • Social skills enhancement, focused on managing emotions and developing mindfulness
  • Educational programs
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) 
  • Occupational therapy
  • Recreational therapy
  • Exercise and movement activities
  • Individual tutoring 
  • Family therapy sessions and education
  • Parent education and support sessions

Family Involvement

Positive change is most often initiated and facilitated through the family. We encourage parents and other adults to be involved in family therapy sessions.


We welcome referrals from psychiatrists, mental health professionals, social service agencies, school systems and insurance companies. We evaluate potential patients for admission to learn which treatment option - inpatient, partial or outpatient - is most appropriate to the individual's needs.

Payment/Insurance Information

Most insurance policies cover mental health services. If you have questions about your coverage, please contact your insurance provider.

Related Services

UnityPoint Health – Meriter also offers:

  • Mental health consultation services for patients hospitalized on our medical and surgical units, and for those patients seen in Emergency Services.
  • Mental health services for adults.
  • NewStart, a chemical dependency treatment program for adults and adolescents.


Our mental health and substance use disorder programs are certified by The Joint Commission and by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Division of Quality Assurance.

Support the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry program

A gift to the program can provide life changing hope to a young child. Your support will help us provide staff training in cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a coping tool to help patients better manage emotional outbursts and for an outdoor garden space for group therapy activities, recreation, horticulture therapy and a private retreat for family visits.

Learn more about making a gift through the UnityPoint Health – Meriter Foundation.