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Intermountain Health speeds up plans for new Behavioral Health Center after $25M gift

By Jamie Lampros - Special to the Daily Herald | Jun 19, 2024

Courtesy Intermountain health

A rendering of the planned Intermountain Primary Children’s Behavioral Health Center in Taylorsville, expected to be completed in late 2025.

Suicide remains a leading cause of death in Utah youth. Over the past 12 months, the state lost 38 children between the ages of 10-17 to suicide and another 71 young people between the ages of 18-24.

On Monday, Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital announced the acceleration of a new $96 million Behavioral Health Center in Taylorsville, thanks to a $25 million investment from the state of Utah and other local philanthropists. The new center is slated to open in late 2025 and will be available to all Utah youth as well as those in Intermountain’s seven-state region.

“We extend our gratitude to the state of Utah and the leadership of our elected officials for helping address the crisis in pediatric behavioral health,” said Rob Allen, president and CEO of Intermountain Health, in a press release.

The new 90,000-square-foot facility, which will be named the Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital Behavioral Health Center, will feature 50% more total inpatient beds, a walk-in crisis center, the state’s first inpatient unit for youth with autism and other neurodiverse needs, and family-centered behavioral health care with overnight capabilities, according to the release. The site also will become home to Intermountain’s Assessment, Referral, and Consultation Service, or ARCS, that connects children with local resources, as well as the Stabilization and Mobile Response team, providing in-person care by responding to homes in moments of crisis.

State Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, said Utah is among a group of states with the highest prevalence of mental health disorders.

“As many as 60% of Utah children struggling with mental health issues do not receive any treatment,” he said in the release. “The average wait time in the United States from the onset of mental illness in a child to first receiving treatment is 10 years. Mental or addictive disorders affect as many as 90,000 Utah youth ages 9 to 17.”

Last year in Utah, 42.7% of youth who felt sad, hopeless or suicidal did not talk to anyone about it, according to the release.

“Today is all about keeping our Primary Promise,” said Katy Welkie, chief executive officer of Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital and vice president of Intermountain Children’s Health. “With the state of Utah’s $25 million funding, and Intermountain Health’s financial match, we’re fortunate to be able to pursue these critical behavioral health services for youth in our community right now without the costs translating to our patients. Every day we delay is a missed opportunity to help a child thrive. With stakes this high, we cannot hesitate.”

Gail Miller, who along with her family contributed $50 million to Intermountain’s Primary Promise campaign in 2020, said Primary Promise will directly contribute to lifesaving and life-changing advancements for the betterment of children everywhere.

“I invite every member of the community to partner with us, so that working together, we can help even more children grow up stronger,” Miller said in the release.

The $25 million investment, supported by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, was approved by the Utah Legislature.

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