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Kansas City Magazine: Children's Mercy Aims to Tackle the Youth Mental Health Crisis with a $150 Million Initiative

By Reece Parker

Nearly half of Kansas City area children needing mental health services aren’t getting the help they need, but Children’s Mercy is aiming to change that.

The children’s hospital recently unveiled an ambitious $150 million five-year plan, called Illuminate, that will focus on four areas to increase mental health access for the under-eighteen-year-old crowd. The intention is to help at least eighty thousand area children, hospital officials say.

“Mental health needs have continued to rise at an alarming rate, and parents and families are feeling the absence of a full continuum of care,” says Paul Kempinski, president and CEO of Children’s Mercy. 

According to Children’s Mercy, fifteen million children under eighteen years old are in need of mental health services across the nation, yet thirty to fifty percent of patients aren’t receiving it. In the greater Kansas City area, that number is even higher, closer to forty to fifty percent. 

Over the next five years, Children’s Mercy’s Illuminate initiative will use what it calls a series of “strategies and projects” to address the pediatric mental health care crisis. The initiative is focused on four areas to increase mental health care access: facilitating early intervention, increasing special services, expanding inpatient hospital care and funding new research. Illuminate plans to provide specialized care for everything from anxiety, depression and eating disorders to ADHD and autism. 


Read the full article via Kansas City Magazine

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