Emergency care is for dealing with medical situations that do not reach the level of hospitalization. The Children’s Home’s Best Point Behavioral Health takes the same approach with its new Pediatric Mental Health Urgent Care.
“There aren’t many great options in the system right now,” said Chief Clinical Officer Debbie Gingrich. “If you have a mental health need and it’s after five, families usually go to the emergency department.”
The emergency care is intended for young people up to about 21 years of age. It is intended to help those who need immediate social or emotional care and not go to the hospital.
For example, “the child has an excruciating emotional reaction, maybe there is a stressful relationship challenge with a romantic relationship or friendship, even parent/child conflict; depression worsening or maybe parents learn a suicidal idea that they say ‘Oh, I have to talk to someone about this right away.’ “
Other areas include:
Child is very upset and unable to calm down Excessive crying Family distress Temper outburstPassive suicidality Loss/grief Intense relationship challenges
Patients will meet with therapists or counselors to respond to immediate needs and help create a plan for next steps. There is also telehealth access to a prescriber or psychiatrist if needed.
Gingrich says there aren’t many options for dealing with mental health issues outside of regular doctor’s hours at the moment. The idea for the emergency room came from discussions with Cincinnati Children’s and others.
“They’re seeing a record number of psychological assessments, and not all of those kids have to end up being hospitalized,” Gingrich says. “About half are not admitted.”
The number of children requiring mental health care has been growing for a while – since before the pandemic. Gingrich estimates that about 3,000 families could benefit from emergency care.
“The data illustrates that mental and behavioral health needs among young people are constantly increasing,” John Banchy, president and CEO of The Children’s Home, said in a statement. “About 60 percent of our country’s youth who need mental health care are not receiving help. Many of those who do receive treatment are under-treated.”
The emergency room is open Monday through Friday from 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM at 5051 Duck Creek Road in Cincinnati. If you are unsure whether the facility is the best option, please call 513-527-3040.