Akron Children’s bringing mental health care to more Mahoning Valley kids

Local News

Dr. Steve Jewell said 20% of adolescents have mental illness severe enough to impair functioning but only one-fifth of them are diagnosed and treated

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley in Boardman will offer expanded behavioral health services starting Tuesday. The hospital spent $2 million for the new space that will help double the number of behavioral health patient visits in this area within the first year.

“That’s the answer to the question,” Dr. Steve Jewell said. “There’s just this huge amount of untapped and unmet need out there.”

Jewell said 20% of adolescents have mental illness severe enough to impair their functioning but only one-fifth of them are diagnosed and treated during adolescence.

In a hospital system of care, many kids would be discharged without a lot of support. That leads to readmissions.

The expansion brings a new level of mental health care to the Mahoning Valley.

“Offers that opportunity for step-down from the inpatient unit and then also to prevent the need for an inpatient level of care,” said Clinical Operations Director Doug Straight.

The goal is to start by helping 10 children and eventually serve 30 at a time. It will help with schoolwork and expressive and talking therapies.

Children typically participate in the program for a couple of weeks or more.

“Our goal is to come in and fill some gaps in the system of care in the local community and partner with the local providers to create a more thorough and comprehensive system of care for children and adolescents,” Jewell said.

The new behavioral health center is having an open house Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. It’s in the building on Akron Children’s campus that’s closest to Southern Boulevard, which was once Youngstown Hearing and Speech.

The open house is free and open to everyone.

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