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Children’s Mercy Kansas City Announces New Clinic to Treat Depression and Anxiety in Youth

Depression and anxiety are among the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in teenagers, which have significantly increased since the pandemic. To help address the mental health needs in the community, Children’s Mercy Kansas City has launched the Depression and Anxiety in Youth (DAY) Clinic, the hospital’s first program dedicated to treating these conditions using cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and mindfulness approaches to help stabilize patients and strengthen their coping skills.

“The message from primary care physicians in the community was loud and clear: Anxiety and depression treatment needs to be a priority,” said Sarah Soden, MD, the Nick Timmons Endowed Chair in Developmental & Behavioral Sciences and the Division Director, Developmental and Behavioral Health. “Our goal is to make sure more young people are getting access to early-intervention before it becomes a crisis.”

Experts from psychology, psychiatry, social work and nursing provide collaborative care though group therapy, individual therapy and medication management for patients ages 12 to 17 with known or suspected depression and anxiety. Patients are treated for up to 12 months and then transition to community resources for on-going support.

The team-based approach is led by Clinical Psychologist Sarah Beals-Erickson, PhD, and Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Ram Chettiar, DO.

“We are finding that rates of depression and anxiety are increasing in our youth, which impact daily functioning and overall well-being,” said Dr. Chettiar. “While the statistics are daunting, early and effective intervention can make a significant difference.”

Dr. Beals-Erickson added that without proper treatment, depression and anxiety can lead to low self-esteem, isolation, and a sense of hopelessness, “By providing youth with the right coping skills they can improve their overall mental health and prevent future episodes.”

Thanks to lead donor, Fore the Kids Foundation, the DAY Clinic is one of the first of 14 mental health projects Children’s Mercy will launch over the next five years. This project is part of the comprehensive Illuminate initiative, requiring a $150M new investment, to provide enhanced access to evidence-based screening, diagnosis and treatment while expanding the collective network of care. The four focus areas of Illuminate include: facilitating early intervention, increasing specialty services, investing in research and innovation, and expanding inpatient hospital care.

Children’s Mercy also recently announced it has formed a joint venture with Camber Health to build a 72-bed mental health inpatient facility in Olathe, Kan.


To learn more about the 14 projects and how you can help light the path forward visit childrensmercy.org/illuminate.

To learn more about the DAY Clinic, meet the team and how to request an appointment visit The Depression and Anxiety in Youth (DAY) Clinic | Children's Mercy Kansas City (childrensmercy.org).

To learn more about Fore the Kids Foundation and their role as a mental health champion for Children’s Mercy, visit forethekidskc.org.