Child and Adolescent Mood Program (CHAMP)

Kids and teens with depression or other mood disorders can find help at the Child and Adolescent Mood Program (CHAMP), part of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

We treat a variety of conditions, including:

  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder
  • Frequently co-occurring conditions such as ADHD

What your child might be experiencing

There are different signs of depression, bipolar disorder and other mood disorders, some of which are listed below. Not every child will experience all of these symptoms.

Symptoms may include:

  • Sadness or low mood
  • Frequent episodes of irritability or anger that are new for your child
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Problems in school and with friends
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Guilty thoughts, hopelessness, or low self-esteem

How we can help

Our goal is the same as yours: To help your child find ways to manage his or her symptoms or make them less severe. In some cases, stopping them altogether may also be possible. To do that, our first priority is to diagnose your child’s condition and then create a personalized care plan.

When you call to make an appointment with CHAMP, you’ll speak with an intake coordinator. This person will ask questions to help assess whether your child may be depressed. You will be asked about things like your child’s sleeping and eating habits, his energy levels, and whether he’s been feeling lonely or angry. We will also ask about any additional medical conditions your child may have. These questions help us determine what kind of care your child may need.

If we think that your child would benefit from CHAMP, your intake coordinator will schedule two appointments: an evaluation appointment and a feedback appointment. After these sessions, we will provide recommended next steps for treatment and a plan for follow-up care. Learn more about what to expect at these appointments.

Possible treatment options may include supportive therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), group therapy, or medication to help manage your child’s symptoms

If your child will be better served by a program other than CHAMP, we will help you schedule the appropriate appointment, either at CHOP, or elsewhere in the community.

Why choose CHAMP for your child’s care

Our dedicated team of experts

Our team of specialists, including psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals, all work together to provide coordinated care for every patient. These specialists are experts at helping kids and their families cope with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and other depressive or disruptive mood disorders. Our team will also collaborate with your family to develop the best treatment plan for your child, taking into account the unique aspects of her mood difficulties as well as your family’s needs.

A place to turn

Many families come to us seeking second or third opinions when they have been unable to find help or make progress elsewhere. Our team is equipped to evaluate and care for even the most challenging mood disorders.

Attention to detail

Our comprehensive, structured diagnostic evaluation sets us apart from other programs. You can expect to spend four hours with us at your child’s first visit. This detailed assessment helps us gather all the information we need to come up with the best plan of care for your child. In addition to looking at mood and behavioral symptoms, we’re also paying close attention to medical conditions and symptoms that may resemble one thing but are caused by something entirely different. Our experience helps us recognize when symptoms that look like depression might actually be related to a medical condition or side effects from medication.

Family centered care

We recognize that mood disorders affect not only the child with the condition, but the entire family. We focus on the experience of your whole family by involving everyone in the evaluation process and care planning. The time spent individually with each family member during your child’s evaluation appointment helps us establish trusted relationships with both your child and the rest of your family.

A supportive network

With your permission, we work closely with schools and community providers to make sure your child is supported in every aspect of her life. We ensure there are open lines of communication with your child’s school psychologist, guidance counselors, teachers, primary care physician, and other community healthcare providers.