Jan 24, 2013 8:10 PM by Annie Snead
Mental health has gained national attention since last year's shootings by men, thought to be mentally disturbed, including the one here in Colorado.
Around 30 states have reduced mental health spending since 2008, but one local hospital has seen the need for an increase in treatment for adolescents.
"There is most definitely an identifiable mental health issue that has gone untreated or has gone ignored, or gone under-treated," said Dr. Ken Calhoun.
Dr. Calhoun oversees the new inpatient and outpatient adolescent program at peak view behavioral health.
The expansion is now open with 20 beds for 12 to 17-year-olds.
"The younger we can address these needs in kids the better off they're going to be as kids and as future adults," he said.
Without treatment, Dr. Calhoun says children could face life-long challenges.
Kids stay from five to ten days in the in-patient treatment, primarily for depression and anxiety.
He says society is beginning to recognize mental health issues as both treatable and something worth a discussion.
"So far our phones have really been lit up with questions about who qualifies for programming, what does the program look like and how do we get in?," said Marshae Freant-Vitt.
Freant-Vitt is the direct of outpatient services.
She says free assessments for getting into the program are available 24/7.
"The day treatment program is completely voluntary program, all the kids that are here are here because they want to be here," she said.
She says for years there's been a need in the community for more adolescent services and the response has been positive.
"They want to work on issues, they want to get better and they want to have brighter futures," she said.
And they'll continue to grow if the need increases.
"It's very apparent that we're meeting a need that is out there," said Dr. Calhoun.
Both Calhoun and Freant-Vitt say the goal is to get the kids back home with their families.