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Bellevue Children's Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (C-CPEP) gives new level of care and comfort to families in crisis

by CSC Staff

Actress Uma Thurman and Dr. Jennifer Havens at the ribbon cutting for the Bellevue Children's Psychiatric Emergency Unit

(Above, from left, Steven Alexander, chief operating officer, Bellevue Hospital Center; Dr. Jennifer Havens, director and chief of service of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Bellevue; actress Uma Thurman; Dr. Eric Manheimer, medical director, Bellevue; and Joe Schick, chief of staff, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation President's Office, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Bellevue's Children's Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency (C-CPEP) unit on November 3, 2010.)

Children and families experiencing the frightening reality of a child's mental health emergency now have a new place to turn in New York City, designed specifically to fit children's needs. Bellevue Hospital Center's new Children's Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (C-CPEP), which is expected to begin seeing patients in late November, provides a new level of care to families in crisis. 

In most cases, children who need acute care for a mental health issue end up in an emergency room. There, says Dr. Jennifer Havens, director and chief of service of Bellevue's Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, these kids, who are already in distress, are "confronted with the crowds and the noise and what seems like chaos."

The other common alternative, an adult psychiatric emergency room, also places children in a potentially scary situation. "It's horrifying for a 12 year old to be in an adult psychiatric emergency unit, locked in an area with a lot of chronically mentally ill patients," says Dr. Havens.

The bright, inviting new unit at Bellevue, which includes a waiting area where younger kids can play, will be staffed seven days a week, 24 hours a day with doctors, nurses, and social workers trained specifically in the care of children and adolescents.

Jenna, a 17-year-old girl who spoke at the Bellevue C-CPEP ribbon cutting, described her harrowing experience after being admitted to an adult psychiatric emergency room for a mental health issue in the summer of 2010. "It was one of the scariest moments of my life," she told the audience. "What did I do to be treated like a prisoner?" she remembered thinking, after being separated from her parents and isolated in a tiny room with a cot.

Jenna, who did not use her last name to protect her privacy, said the new unit at Bellevue "will encourage children and adolescents to take the first step toward help."

Read more about the Bellevue Children's CPEP in the following news stories:

Read the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) press release here. Click here to read an interview with Dr. Havens in the HHC's newsletter, HHC Today.

NY1
New Psych Unit For Youth To Open At Bellevue

Jennifer Havens, M.D., associate professor and vice chair of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine, and director and chief of service, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Bellevue Hospital Center, spoke to NY1 about the opening of the new Children's Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program at Bellevue.  Click here (latest version of Windows Media Player Series 9 required) and here to see NY1's video coverage of the event.

New York Daily News
Bellevue Hospital's new $1.1M unit to tackle growing epidemic with psychiatric unit for kids

The New York Daily News reports that facing a dramatic increase in children in crisis, Bellevue Hospital is opening a special round-the-clock psychiatric unit for kids. The $1.1 million Children's Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program will be staffed by child and adolescent psychiatrists, nurses and social workers by the end of the month."This is going to be a big improvement to the existing system," said Dr. Jennifer Havens, director and chief of service of Bellevue's Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Click here to read the full Daily News story.

Crain's Health Pulse
Celeb Opening for Bellevue Psych Center

Crain's Health Pulse reported on the opening of Children's Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (C-CPEP), stating "Bellevue Hospital Center is dedicating its $1.1 million, 3,400-square-foot Children's Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program facility. The new unit is expected to accommodate 1,500 emergency patients up to 18 years of age. Actress Uma Thurman, a Bellevue volunteer, was there to cut the ribbon. Funding for the unit comes from the Leon Lowenstein Foundation and the New York State Office of Mental Health."  The CPEP is part of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Bellevue Hospital Center, run by Jennifer Havens, M.D.