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Behavioral Health Services

Dec. 4, 2019 – What a fun visit I had today with the outpatient psychiatry team! Some of them were dressed for Comic-Con, some wore matching shirts and others were decked out in holiday attire. This dynamic — and eclectic — group provides mental health and psychosocial services to children, adolescents and their families as part of Rady Children’s comprehensive behavioral health services program.

Some of the dynamic members of the outpatient psychiatry team

Psychiatry and Social Services Director of Operations Sandra Mueller (dressed in a comical holiday sweater) kicked things off by orienting me to the teams, which were assigned to tables based on the location from which they provide services. There was the central team, which works out of the Health Services (Plaza) building near the main campus; the north coastal team, based at the “Castle of Care” in Oceanside; the north inland team, hailing from our Escondido satellite location; the school-based team; and the team from the Behavioral Health Urgent Care in Mid-City. These teams offer a wide range of outpatient services for conditions including depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorders, behavior problems, psychosis and eating disorders. They provide diagnostic evaluations, medication evaluations and treatment including individual therapy, group therapy, psychological therapy, family therapy and parent education. The Behavioral Health Urgent Care provides services for children, teens and families struggling with urgent emotional and/or behavioral concerns that pose a risk to their safety or the safety of others, or that significantly impair their daily lives.

Fun and games with Sandra Mueller

After the introductions, Sandra presented me with a knitted blue beanie, or as she called it a “touk” (it’s a Canadian thing), embellished with a behavioral health services logo. It was really comfortable and I wore it for most of the visit. For the “in-flight entertainment” we played a game called the 5-Second Rule. I read a question from a card and each table had five seconds to provide three answers (each question asked participants to name three things, such as “name three famous Michaels”). Points were awarded for giving three correct answers, and the table with the most points at the end would win an “incredible prize.”

With questions ranging from the serious (name three symptoms of a major depressive episode) to the trivial (name three ways to pass time on an airplane), these teams really showed their competitive sides — and their enthusiasm! It came down to a battle between two teams, with the central team emerging victorious and claiming the grand prize: a Panera gift card. We shared a lot of laughs and had a great time. With the winner decided, it was time to get my passport stamped. The behavioral health services stamp features a sketch of a family holding outstretched hands while flying the Rady Children’s kite. Very cool!  You can check it out on the right side of this page.

The winning team!

Finally, I had the opportunity to answer a few questions from the group. One person asked me to name a highlight from my first year here at Rady Children’s. My answer? These Team Rady visits. It has truly been a special experience to visit with the vast majority of our teams and their leadership, from the South Bay to Murrieta and everywhere in between. It’s apparent that Rady Children’s is so much more than a Hospital. We are a health system — and the behavioral health services team is a critical part of it. With our inpatient and outpatient services, crisis stabilization unit, behavioral health urgent care, and our mental and behavioral health emergency department (coming in the spring), this team is doing a tremendous job of caring for some of our most vulnerable populations. I commend you for your tireless dedication and commitment to the kids in our community.