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East Valley health center to help teens with behavioral health

Posted: 5:54 PM, Aug 14, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-16 09:12:28-04
Phoenix's Children's Behavioral Health Center in East Valley

GILBERT, AZ — Phoenix Children's is preparing to open an outpatient clinic in the East Valley to help the increasing number of teen suicides across the state.

"It's a local crisis, a national crisis," Dr. Randall Ricardi, a pediatric psychiatrist at Phoenix Children's said.

According to Phoenix Children's, in 2008 there were about 65 kids who came to the emergency room with suicidal thoughts. In 2016, that number jumped to over 500.

Dr. Ricardi says the age range keeps getting younger. "We sometimes see preschoolers come through who are under the age of five who will express suicidal ideation," Dr. Ricardi said.

In order to keep up with the growing numbers, Phoenix Children's is building an outpatient clinic at Mercy Gilbert Medical Center off the Loop 202 and Val Vista Drive. It's a place where at risk kids can be seen by psychiatrists and get the help they need.

"Collaborate with a pediatrician, try and stabilize that patient and then move them back to the pediatric practice for management," Dr. Ricardi said.

It's also where pediatricians can learn to be more comfortable when it comes to diagnosing ADHD, depression and anxiety disorders.

The facility is expected to open in January, also offering a number of other health services including endocrinology, otolaryngology, gastroenterology, general surgery, adolescent gynecology, hematology/oncology (available beginning in march 2021), orthopedics, and neurology.

On the same property, a facility for moms who have high-risk pregnancies is expected to open in 2021.

If you are in need of help, call 1-800-273-8255. Teens can also call 602-248-8336.