George Shopland, director of hospital services, offered some insight into the need for increased availability of acute care mental health services for children in the area.
"In 2014, we had an unusually high number of referrals," Shopland
"Through analysis and working with Lehigh County Mental Health
, we made a decision with the rationale that we wanted to treat local kids locally."
said about 80 percent of children are directly admitted from local emergency rooms.
"The more the families are involved in treatment and the treatment process, the more we can engage them in helping better the outcome," Shopland
said the increased need for psychiatric services for children is in part the result of an increasingly complex society.
"Kids in this generation are just facing levels of stress that none of us did growing up" Shopland
also attributes the increasing numbers to a heightened awareness and acceptance of mental health illness.
"The stigma for mental health issues has gone down," he
said, "and also local schools are more educated in identifying issues."
We are hoping to make this a one-stop for them," Shopland