Adolescent behavior health unit opens at the Medical Center of Aurora

AURORA, Colo., July 6, 2016 — There is new hope for the 52,000 adolescents inColorado who suffer from serious mental health conditions, and who until now, were underserved.

Today, The Medical Center of Aurora opens the doors to a new Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit, and officials say that it will meet the needs of Denver area youth between ages 12 – 17 in need of specialized care.

Scott Adams, Ph.D., Director of Youth Services for the program, says the facility’s holistic approach to care is what makes the Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit unique.

“Our clinical treatment is unmatched,” Adams said.  “We treat the whole person, integrating physical, emotional and medical issues with the goal of improving day to day interactions with the world.  We understand the importance of treating youth as individuals with unique qualities and needs.”

Relying on evidenced-based models known as cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy and the trauma-informed care model, the Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit offers a comprehensive physician-led, interdisciplinary treatment team to work with challenges ranging from anger management, anxiety, depression/extreme sadness, the inability to control emotion, the inability to focus or function on a daily basis, difficulty sleeping or communicating, or causing self-harm.

“Adolescence is a time of vast change in both body and mind,” according to Cynthia Meyer, HealthONE’s VP of Behavioral Services.  “Many times, young people have difficulty establishing a sense of self, and a sense of wellness.  We’re here to therapeutically guide them back on track, and to help keep them on track.”

In development for nearly two years, the new facility offers 20 in-patient beds and expects to operate at 100% capacity.  A typical length of stay is 7 – 14 days, followed by an intensive outpatient program.  The clinical treatment plan includes seven group therapies daily, which includes family therapy. Services are generally covered by health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, and treatment may or may not include prescription medications.

“The opening of this facility in the Denver market is a remarkable step forward,” Adams said.  “Youth do not need to suffer alone or in silence.  And the parents, teachers, clergy and healthcare professionals who interact with these young people need to know we are here to offer immediate help.”

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about one in five youth aged 12 – 17 suffer from a range of treatable mental health problems.  The Denver metro currently has only 148 in-patient psychiatric beds within area medical facilities, so the addition of 20 new beds at the Medical Center of Aurora’s campus is significant.

One key advantage to the inpatient psychiatric treatment program is that it allows patients time to recover while a team of professionals construct a care plan focusing on bolstering strengths, then the outpatient program carries the patient through with the same focus and dedication.

“The life-changing treatment we offer these young people can not stand alone,” Adams said.  “We understand that family, friends, and community are an essential component along the path to recovery and wellness.”

If an adolescent in your life is experiencing behavioral health challenges and would benefit from a comprehensive assessment, please contact us at 720-282-8922 or toll-free 844-556-2012 or Visit us online at

About The Medical Center of Aurora:

The Medical Center of Aurora is part of Denver’s largest healthcare system, HealthONE.  We are ranked the #4 hospital in the Denver metro and the #4 hospital in Colorado in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014-2015 Best Hospital Rankings.  We are committed to excellence in patient care, and the opening of the Adolescent Behavior Unit will continue that mission.