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Pediatric Mental Health Urgent Care Now Open

image of the entry to a building. building is red brick with green shrubberies. A gray awning says "The Children's Home: Education and Behavioral Health."
The Children's Home

Urgent cares are meant for handling medical situations that don't rise to the level of going to the hospital. Best Point Behavioral Health by The Children's Home is taking that same approach with its new Pediatric Mental Health Urgent Care.

"There's not a lot of great options currently in the system," says Chief Clinical Officer Debbie Gingrich. "If you have a mental health need and it's after five o'clock, typically families are going to the emergency department."

The urgent care serves young people up through about age 21. It aims to help those who need immediate social or emotional care not rising to the level of going to the hospital.

For example, "the child's having an unbearable emotional response, maybe there's a stressful relationship challenge with a romantic relationship or friendship, even parent/child conflict; depression that's worsening or maybe parents are learning of some suicidal thinking that they say 'Oh, I need to talk to someone about this right away.' "

Other areas include:

  • Child is terribly upset and unable to calm
  • Excessive crying
  • Family distress
  • Temper outburst
  • Passive suicidality
  • Loss/grief
  • Intense relationship challenges

Patients will meet with therapists or counselors to address immediate needs and help create a plan for next steps. There's also access via telehealth to a prescriber or psychiatrist as needed.

Gingrich says there currently aren't many options for dealing with mental health emergencies outside of regular doctor's office hours. The idea for the urgent care came out of discussions with Cincinnati Children's and others.

"They're seeing record numbers of psych assessments and not all those kids end up needing to be admitted," Gingrich says. "About half aren't admitted."

The number of children in need of mental health services has been growing for a while - since before the pandemic. Gingrich estimates about 3,000 families could benefit from the urgent care.

"The data illustrates that mental and behavioral health needs among youth populations are continually rising," says John Banchy, president and CEO of The Children's Home, in a statement. "About 60 percent of our nation’s youth who need mental health treatment receive no help. Many of those who do get treated are treated inadequately."

The urgent care is open Monday - Friday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 5051 Duck Creek Road in Cincinnati. If you're unsure if the facility is the best option, you can call 513-527-3040.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.