The Copley Psychiatric Emergency Department

“One in five children in the U.S. experiences a behavioral health disorder—that’s 190,000 children in San Diego alone,” said Benjamin Maxwell, M.D., Director, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Services at Rady Children’s. “Less than ten percent of these children receive any medical attention. This dedicated emergency department will assure that children in crisis have access to immediate care.”

Recognizing that early intervention can save lives and support families at the most critical point in a mental health crisis, the planned Copley Psychiatric Emergency Department will serve the unique needs of patients requiring immediate and long-term care for mental and behavioral health challenges.

Nationally, 12 teens die each day as a result of self-harm and suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among people age 10-24 in the U.S.

“Teens in San Diego suffer the highest rate of suicide in the state,” said Dean Dwyer, President and CEO of the Copley Foundation. “That’s simply unacceptable. In partnering with Rady Children’s, we want to do everything we can to stop children from suffering. Often families facing mental and behavioral health disorders feel ashamed or unsupported.  We have to remove the stigma surrounding these conditions in our community. Lives literally depend on it.”

Rady Children’s will combine distinct pediatric medical expertise with state-of-the-art mental health services to serve children in various stages of mental health crises. This highly integrated approach to care for the whole child will cement the Hospital’s treatment model to unite clinical, mental and behavioral health providers and care connection services under one roof.

“Our unique integration of resources not only will help generations of patients and their families,” said Donald B Kearns, M.D., M.M., Hospital President and CEO, “But will also attract the best and the brightest in the field, which will allow Rady Children’s to teach the next generation of physician leaders in this important area of pediatric medicine.”

Projected to open in 2020, the specialized emergency department is expected to be housed in the same building as the Sam S. and Rose Stein Emergency Care Center, but will provide patients a separate space from the medical activity in the Hospital’s main emergency department.  Utilizing the latest technology, and employing clinicians who are dedicated to responding to pediatric mental and behavioral health emergencies, this new space will be exclusively designed to meet the needs of these children. Patients will receive a full psychiatric evaluation including screening for inpatient psychiatric hospitalization needs, crisis intervention and stabilization and a pathway to referrals, follow-up resources, education and outreach.

The new emergency department will complement the Hospital’s existing services, including the CAPS inpatient care unit and outpatient services that together focus on conditions including depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorders, behavior problems, psychosis and eating disorders.