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Helping Teens Through Tough Times

High Schoolers hanging out

Plans are underway by Greenwich Hospital to create the community’s first mental health and crisis intervention program designed for young people ages 12 to 18. The new program will include an intensive outpatient program for teens, the only one of its kind in the area.

The initiative represents the hospital’s latest effort to expand behavioral health services at a time when the nation faces a mental health crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, children and adolescents have been among the hardest hit. Emergency Departments at hospitals across the country, including Greenwich Hospital, are reporting a record number of teens seeking behavioral health assessment and treatment. Sadly, adolescent outpatient behavioral health services and resources remain scarce.

“There is an epidemic in depression and suicide among teenagers in our area and the nation that is heartbreaking,” said Amir Garakani, MD, chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Greenwich Hospital. The situation is so alarming that the federal government’s Healthy People 2030 has an objective to reduce the rate of suicide attempts by adolescents.

“Our goal is to provide teens with the right level of psychiatric care," said Diane Kelly, DNP, RN, Greenwich Hospital president. “As part of Yale New Haven Health, we can join forces with Yale School of Medicine physicians to bring advanced treatment options and research to our community.”

The new program will include an intensive outpatient program, featuring cognitive behavioral interventions in combination with psychotropic medication management. A research component will focus on improving treatment options for young people. Greenwich Hospital is partnering with Greenwich United Way in this endeavor.

To support the initiative, Greenwich residents Richard and Ellen Richman have made a lead gift toward the adolescent program. Designed to inspire others to donate to this initiative, the Richmans will match additional gifts, dollar-for-dollar, up to $1 million.

For more information, contact Noel Appel, chief development officer, at 203-863-3861 or [email protected].