Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta expects to soon open a medical center dedicated to pediatric behavioral and mental health.
David and Helen Zalik and their foundation, The Zalik Foundation, have agreed to donate roughly 10 acres of land, including two office buildings, to Children’s in a transaction that is expected to close later this year, according to a press release. The land is located along the I-85 northbound access road near the Children’s North Druid Hill campus, and will house the future Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Zalik Behavioral and Mental Health Center.
The land donation comes two months after Children’s hired child psychiatrist John N. Constantino as its first Chief of Behavioral and Mental Health.
“With the Zalik’s gift and Children’s deep commitment to impacting the problem, our expanding corps of mental health professionals will have a venue in which to meet the community’s ever-increasing needs for child mental health care, in a space that supports recovery and is conducive to coordinated delivery of the latest innovations in clinical practice,” said Constantino in the press release. “This campus will also enable us to work with providers throughout Georgia to transform pediatric behavioral and mental health.”
According to a press release, the number of visits to a Children’s emergency department for a primary behavioral or mental health concern has more than doubled, now sitting at more than 4,000 visits annually. The average age of children facing a behavioral or mental health emergency is nine years old.
“Children’s is committed to building a pediatric behavioral and mental health ecosystem that improves outcomes, reduces stigma, and enhances access to prevention, diagnosis and treatment,” Constantino said. “This gift will enable an expansion of our reach and provide a “home base” for in-person and virtual care to be delivered throughout Georgia.”
In 2019, Children’s opened an outpatient clinic that provides care to patients experiencing anxiety, depression, somatic symptoms, medical adherence, and behavioral challenges. This new center is expected to expand upon that care and provide a central location to deliver “evidence-based, behavioral and mental health care to kids throughout Georgia,” according to the release.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Zaliks for caring so much about children and making a difference in addressing this crisis,” said Donna Hyland, CEO of Children’s, in the release. “This amazing gift will provide an extraordinary resource for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Dr. Constantino and his team to tackle this issue.”