The James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Foundation has donated $15m to Cincinnati Children’s to support the establishment of a new Mental and Behavioral Health Institute (MBHI).

This donation will enable Cincinnati Children’s to expand its efforts in tackling the escalating crisis affecting the youth of America.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center president and CEO Steve Davis said: “It is no secret that our children and teens are struggling like never before and have an unprecedented need for anxiety and depression care.

“We are witnessing a heart-breaking surge in youth suicide.

“We stand committed to addressing this country’s mental health challenges, from expanding access to care to conducting vital research that will improve outcomes.

“The generous gift from The James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Foundation provides critical resources for achieving this mission, together.”

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The MBHI will serve as a central hub for coordinating various initiatives, projects, and collaborations related to mental and behavioural health at Cincinnati Children’s.

It will integrate three divisions, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology, and Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

This integration will foster collaboration across clinical and research divisions, leading to innovative programmes such as the Heart and Mind Wellbeing Center and embedding mental health professionals in paediatric primary care clinics.

The MBHI’s priorities include reducing mental health-related emergency visits and hospitalisations, minimising school absenteeism due to mental health issues, eliminating youth suicide in the region, and ensuring timely access to care for every child in need.

The James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Foundation trustee Ellie Johns said: “Cincinnati Children’s is a proven leader in integrated mental and behavioural healthcare and it is our hope that the success and learnings of the MBHI will be modelled globally, impacting children and families far beyond our local community.