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Child/Adolescent Psychiatry & Psychology

We provide individualized, collaborative, and effective (supported by research) services to help children and families be healthy and resilient.


  • Evaluation of psychological difficulties and/or psychological factors contributing to health conditions
  • Psychological and Neuropsychological Testing
  • Interventions for children and adolescents coping with emotional, behavioral, or health concerns
  • Family interventions
  • Medication management
  • Inpatient consultation at the HCMC Pediatric Unit


Choosing a Psychologist

Choosing a Psychologist

A psychologist can help you manage stress, worries, sadness, anger, grief, and more. Psychologists are licensed mental health professionals who can listen to your concerns and help you solve problems. Psychologists can teach you strategies that help you manage difficult emotions, thoughts, and memories. Psychologists can also help you to improve communication with your loved ones or work through problems in your relationships. The steps below can help you find a psychologist.

Step 1: Find Options

To find a good therapist, start by finding out your options. Here are some ways you can start:

  1. Search online. You can use websites such as,, or to find psychologists in your area.
  2. Ask around. Ask friends and family if they have recommendations. Ask other parents and caregivers you know who have dealt with similar experiences, as well as members of your child's care team such as a social worker or another provider. You should also ask your primary care doctor or other trusted professionals that may have a recommendation.
  3. Call your insurance company or go to their website. Your insurance company can tell you what mental health services are covered by your insurance plan, and which specific psychologists are covered. Call the phone number on the back of your insurance card or visit the website on your card to learn who is covered by your insurance.
  4. Call your local health department or go to their website. In most areas, there are low-cost, community mental health services. Ask your local health department for more information.

Step 2: Ask Questions

Not all therapists have the same training or expertise. Ask questions before deciding to work with a specific therapist. Ask to have a phone consultation before scheduling a visit or ask questions during your first appointment to help decide if this is the right therapist for you. You may talk with a few therapists before you find the right fit, and that is okay!

Ask about their expertise. Ask about their qualifications and experience. Do they use strategies supported by research? These are also called "evidence-based" strategies.

  • How long have you been licensed as a psychologist?
  • What experiences do you have with my/my child’s specific concerns?
  • What treatments do you use?
  • Have they been proven to help with feelings my child might be experiencing?
  • Ask about their policies. How well do their policies meet your needs as a parent/caregiver?
  • What are your fees, and do you take my insurance? If you don't take my insurance, do you have a sliding scale fee system to help lower the cost?
  • What are your cancellation policies?
  • Do you offer telehealth visits? Do you have evening or weekend hours?
Clinic Guidelines

Clinic and Appointment Information

We look forward to serving your child and family and we will do our best to meet your needs. The following information will be helpful for you to know about services and attendance rules.

Scheduled appointments:

We ask that you be courteous to others by coming to your scheduled appointments.

  • You are responsible to remember and attend your child’s appointment.
  • If you need to cancel your appointment, please call 24 hours in advance: 612-873-2617.
  • If you do not give 24-hours  notice, the appointment will be considered a missed appointment.
  • Patients should be seen by their provider at least once every 3 months (either at the clinic or virtually) and at least once every 6 months in person at the clinic.

Missed appointments:

Your appointment will be considered missed if you do not cancel 24 hours before your appointment.

  • If you miss 3 scheduled appointments within a year, we will discontinue services and provide you with other community resources for continued care.
  • If services are discontinued due to missed appointments, your child will be eligible for services in our clinic again one year from the date of the last missed appointment but will need a new referral from their primary care provider.

During the appointment:

  • A legal guardian must come to appointments with their child for both in-person and virtual visits.
  • Please arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment.
  • If you are more than 10 minutes late for your scheduled appointment, you may be asked to reschedule.
  • If you have other children, please make arrangements for another adult to care for them during the appointment time.

Medication Refills:

  • Your child must be seen in the clinic regularly in order to get medication refills. If your child has not seen their provider in 6 months (or sooner if required by the doctor), their provider may not refill a medication.  Please plan ahead.

Paperwork / Forms Completion:

  • If you have paperwork or forms that need to be completed for your child, please allow up to 5 business days for completion. It is preferred that you bring forms to appointments to have them completed during the visit.  If forms are lengthy, please schedule an appointment to complete forms.
  • The provider may not be able to complete forms if your child has not come to an appointment in the past 6 months.
  • If the provider is not able to complete the forms, they will be returned, and/or your family will be redirected to the appropriate provider or resource.

Paying for services:

  • We charge for all services provided. If you have questions about what services your insurance covers, please call the phone number on the back of your insurance card.
  • Due at time of service: Co-payments and pre-payments.
  • If you have any questions related to billing or finances, call 612-873-3073, or ask the front desk for a Financial Services Brochure, access the Change Healthcare website.

As Your Child Turns 18:

Your doctor will help you to transfer services to a psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of adults. Our doctors serve patients until they reach age 18 or over 18 until they complete high school.

Behavior Expectations:

  • Our staff will treat your child and family with the utmost respect and courtesy. In return, staff should be treated with courtesy and respect at all times. In order to maintain a safe and therapeutic environment, we may terminate clinical services if patients or family members demonstrate aggressive or disruptive behavior. If services are discontinued due to behavioral concerns, we will provide you with other community resources for continued care.

Termination of Services:

  • If your child has not been seen by one of our providers within the past year, they will no longer be considered an active patient and will need a new referral from their primary care provider.
  • If you miss 3 scheduled appointments within a year, we will discontinue services and provide you with other community resources for continued care. You will be re-eligible for services in our clinic one year from the date of the last missed appointment but will need a new referral from your primary care provider.
  • If services are discontinued due to behavioral issues, you will not be allowed to return to our clinic.

Emergency services:

  • Call 911 or go to the closest Emergency Department.
  • Emergency Departments with affiliated Child and Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatry Units:
    • Fairview Riverside, 2450 Riverside Ave., Minneapolis, 612-672-6600 (child and adolescent units)
    • Abbott Northwestern, 800 East 28th Street, Minneapolis, 612-863-8633 (child and adolescent units)
    • United Hospital, 333 Smith Ave N., St. Paul, 651-241-8000 (adolescent unit ages 12-18 only)
  • Hennepin County Child Crisis Services: 612-348-2233, mobile crisis team response, phones answered 24/7.
Crisis Resources

Crisis Resources

If you or your child are in immediate danger, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.

Hennepin County: Children’s Mental Health Crisis Response Services

To reach our mobile crisis team, call 612-348-2233. We provide 24/7 support when a child 17 years and younger is in crisis. We will go where the child is located to provide a risk assessment, help to de-escalate the crisis, develop a plan to keep the child safe at home, and offer resources and referrals. Telephone consultation and stabilization services are also available. For a mental health crises involving someone 18 years or older, call 612-348-1223.

Child Mental Health Crisis Resources by County

Anoka County: 763-755-3801
Ramsey County: 651-266-7900
Carver County: 952-442-7601
Scott County: 952-818-3702
Dakota County: 952-891-7171
Washington County: 651-275-7400
Hennepin County: 612-348-2233
Wright County 1-800-635-8008

If you are in a different county, see the state list of crisis phone numbers.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988
Crisis Text Hotline: Send a text to 741741 in the United States
Minneapolis hospitals with inpatient mental health services for children and adolescents:
Fairview-Riverside, 612-672-6600, and Abbott Northwestern, 1-866-603-0016

Healthy Habits and Tips

Healthy Lifestyle Habits and Tips

Nutrition to Support Mental Health

  • Eat vegetables and/or fruit several times a day
  • Eat protein throughout the day
  • Avoid processed foods and excessive carbohydrates
  • Drink (8) 8oz glasses of water each day
  • Avoid sugary juices, sodas, and caffeinated beverages

Some Supplements that have been associated with supporting mood:

  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Multivitamin with B-Complex
  • Vitamin D3 (especially if you are unable to tolerate dairy fortified foods/drinks)

Some Supplements have been associated with improving sleep
(check with provider before using)

  • Melatonin (immediate and extended release)
  • Magnesium and Zinc (may help to relax muscles)

Some Herbs have been associated with improving sleep and mood.
(please check with provider before using)
Engage in cardiovascular exercise every day for 30-60 minutes
(if not medically counter-indicated)

  • Make sure you enjoy the activity
  • Could be things like a brisk walk, biking, swimming, running
  • Engage in these activities at least 4 hours before going to sleep

Tips for Managing Medications

  • Use a weekly AM and PM medication dispenser and prepare your medications for the upcoming week. Keep all medications out of reach of small children and pets.  Parents may need to oversee that children are taking medications as prescribed. 
  • Take your medications consistently and at prescribed times.
  • Sometimes improvement in symptoms can take several weeks; you may need to be give a particular medication time for full evaluation. Hang in there!
  • If you have any concerns about potential side effects, please call and provide information so we can address your concerns.  Do not discontinue your medications without consulting your provider; better to communicate and discuss a taper plan.
  • If you are prescribed any new medication(s) for other health issues; please share this with your provider so we can avoid medication interactions and coordinate care with your other provider(s).
  • Be sure to keep up with your follow up appointments per your provider directions so you have enough medications until your next visit; if you miss appointments or go too long between appointments, refills may not be provided or medications will be tapered until you are seen for your follow up appointment.  You may need to schedule a follow up appointment before a refill or partial refill can be provided.
  • Always take action to plan ahead and call your pharmacy when you are down to your last 7 days of medications; plan ahead for vacations and camps.

Tips to Help with Sleep

  • Get regular. One of the best ways to train your body to sleep well is to go to bed and get up at more or less the same time every day, even on weekends and days off! This regular rhythm will make you feel better and will give your body something to work from.
  • Sleep when sleepy. Only try to sleep when you actually feel tired or sleepy, rather than spending too much time awake in bed.
  • Get up and try again. If you haven't been able to get to sleep after about 20 minutes or more, get up and do something calming or boring until you feel sleepy, then return to bed and try again.
  • Bed is for sleeping. Try not to use your bed for anything other than sleeping, so that your body comes to associate bed with sleep. If you use bed as a place to watch TV, eat, read, work on your laptop and other things, your body will not learn to associate your bed with sleep.
  • No naps. It is best to avoid taking naps during the day, to make sure that you are tired at bedtime.
  • The right space. It is very important that your bed and bedroom are quiet and comfortable for sleeping. A cooler room with enough blankets to stay warm is best, and make sure you have curtains or an eye mask to block out early morning light and earplugs if there is noise outside your room.
  • Avoid excessive activity, and caffeine. It's best to not engage in strenuous exercise in the 4 hours before bed. Also do not consume caffeinated foods or beverages 4-6 hours before going to sleep.
  • Bedtime rituals: You can develop your own routine of activities to do before going to bed to remind your body it's time for sleep (baths, herb teas, quiet activities or gentle stretches).

Our Providers

Our providers are attuned to the biopsychosocial needs of children and their families, and collaborate with medical and community professionals to ensure continuity of care.

Pediatric Referrals for Psychological / Neuropsychological Testing

A provider referred your child to our team for an appointment for testing.  Sometimes this is called “neuropsych testing” or “psychological testing” and evaluates different skills, such as a child’s thinking, learning, attention, emotions, and behaviors.  Each evaluation is tailored to the patient’s specific needs.

The first step is to have an initial appointment with a psychology provider, to gather background about current concerns and developmental history. You will also fill out some rating scales about your observations of your child.  After this visit, the provider will discuss with you their recommendations for further testing or other steps to support your child.

What happens after that?

If testing is recommended, your child will be scheduled for a 4-hour testing visit where the standardized testing is completed by a psychology provider, one on one with your child.

Once testing is complete, the last step is a feedback appointment to review all results and recommendations.  This is usually scheduled a few weeks after testing. You will receive a written report as well.


john wermager md contact child psych

John Wermager, MD

mary mitchell child psych contact

Mary Mitchell

Clinic Supervisor

[email protected]