US-based non-profit healthcare network Northwell Health has launched a $500m initiative to expand paediatric mental health services and improve access to care for children and adolescents.

The initiative includes a $350m investment from Northwell and a $150m fundraising campaign.

It will involve creating a child and adolescent mental health pavilion connected to Cohen Children’s Medical Center and Zucker Hillside Hospital in Queens, New York.

This 200,000ft² facility will offer integrated physical and mental health care, featuring more than 100 inpatient beds and speciality clinics.

The announcement was made at an event marking the 40th birthday of the Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

The event raised $4m for paediatric mental health services via contributions from sponsors and donors, including $1m from the event’s primary sponsor, the Blumenfeld family.

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The project by Northwell has so far raised $27m of its $150m fundraising target.

It is part of Northwell’s Outpacing the Impossible campaign, which aims to enhance hospitals, clinical programmes, research and endowment funding.

Northwell paediatric services senior vice-president Charles Schleien and Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine paediatrics chair Philip Lanzkowsky said: “For far too long, mental health care has been fraught with stigma and disparities in access, and we are determined to create a new model of care so that every child’s mental wellbeing receives the same care as their physical health.

“As the largest provider of paediatric services in New York State, we are enhancing our holistic approach and strengthening our continuum of care so that children in need will have access to the very best evidence-based treatments.

“This investment will break the archaic siloed approach in which physical health is addressed at one facility and mental health at another by fully integrating physical and mental healthcare for children.”

Earlier this year, Northwell Health began using Aidoc’s clinical AI strategy at 17 of its hospitals in New York.