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UPMC Increases Access to Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Specialty Care with New Facility Opening

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Ashley Trentrock

Taylor Andres
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PITTSBURGH — To help meet the growing need for specialized child and adolescent behavioral health services, UPMC Western Behavioral Health opened a new facility today that will increase community access. 

The new facility includes services for young children with emotional and behavioral needs, children with autism and developmental needs, children and adolescents through age 17 who have experienced trauma, and mothers experiencing mood challenges during and after pregnancy or the birth of a child.

WBH SS Entrance release“UPMC Western is committed to serving our community by expanding access to all behavioral health services that are so needed,” said Deborah Brodine, president of UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital. “This facility enables us to improve access to very specialized programs targeted towards young children, adolescents and families with unique needs and circumstances.”  

The facility, located at 2400 East Carson St., includes a wide variety of behavioral health care services for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder and developmental disorders including outpatient services for the UPMC Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders, the Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention program and the Therapeutic Early Autism program. 

WBH SS Classroom releaseThis location is also the new home for an array of trauma-focused services for children, including the UPMC Matilda H. Theiss Child Development Center, which provides therapeutic care for children with special needs related to emotional and behavioral disturbances, prenatal drug and alcohol exposure and parents’ mental health conditions, as well as adolescent and child outpatient services for trauma, all with a greater capacity for more patients.

The UPMC Matilda H. Theiss early childhood trauma programs are part of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and through that network, conduct research on the effectiveness of early childhood treatment for trauma. Last year, the program expanded the age range of its evidence-based programs to age 18. 

WBH SS Wall release“The trauma services provided here are incredibly important to help address our most complex social needs,” said Brodine. “Kids can experience traumatic stress for a variety of reasons, such as violence, neglect, a natural disaster, loss of a loved one or medical trauma. These are complicated issues, but we know that the evidence-based models of care we implement benefit the children and teenagers, and also their families, and by extension the greater community.” 

The new facility is an additional location for the UPMC New and Expectant Mothers Specialized Treatment Program, which is an intensive outpatient program, with child care available, in collaboration with UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital serving women who are pregnant or up to 12 months postpartum and are struggling with depression and anxiety about parenthood. 

WBH SS Igloo releaseAdditionally, this expansion adds another Children Overcoming Obstacles and Limits (COOL) Zone – developed with the support of the Penguins Foundation for young children experiencing a range of behavioral and emotional challenges such as aggression, anxiety, depression, withdrawal, family disruption, emotional difficulties, traumatic responses, etc. 

“Many people were involved in the renovation of this facility, including the Michael D. Scichilone Foundation who provided a very generous contribution in honor of their late family member, Mike, and who believe in the mission of destigmatizing behavioral health care and supporting children and their families,” added Brodine. “On behalf of everyone involved, I can say we are thrilled to offer innovative and high-quality services in a welcoming, warm setting for children and families — a haven for them to receive loving care during defining formative years.”

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CAPTION: To help meet the growing need for specialized child and adolescent behavioral health services, UPMC Western Behavioral Health opened a new facility at 2400 East Carson St. that will increase community access.