Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital and Community Join Forces to Target Pediatric Behavioral Health Crisis

Intermountain Children’s Health is accelerating expanded access to critically needed behavioral health services for adolescents with a new family-centered Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital Behavioral Health Center in Taylorsville, Utah.

Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital is pursuing construction of the new center earlier than anticipated thanks to a $25 million investment from the state of Utah and generous community support of Primary Promise, Intermountain’s historic campaign to build the nation’s model health system for children.

The new Intermountain behavioral health center is under construction on the present campus Intermountain Primary Children’s Wasatch Canyons Behavioral Health Campus in Taylorsville. It will be the first of its kind center to offer vital behavioral health services including a walk-in crisis center and Utah’s first dedicated space for mental health crisis care for youth with autism and neuro-diverse needs.

The new Intermountain center is expected to open in late 2025. It will ultimately replace current Wasatch Canyons infrastructure and expand present capabilities to serve more young children and teens.

The new center will be home to Intermountain’s pediatric behavioral health services and streamline coordination of current and new initiatives, projects, and collaborations to address pediatric mental and behavioral health throughout Intermountain’s seven-state region.

“We extend our gratitude to the state of Utah and the leadership of our elected officials for helping address the crisis in pediatric behavioral health,” said Rob Allen, president and CEO of Intermountain Health. “We also thank all Utahns who care deeply about doing the right thing for our children. Everyone in the state can feel ownership in this life-changing investment in the health and well-being of our youth with these vital services.”

The new, $96 million Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital Behavioral Health Center will continue to provide existing mental health services in a world-class, 90,000-square-foot facility, and expand programming to include a nearly 50 percent increase in inpatient beds.

The center will feature a walk-in-crisis center, the state’s first dedicated behavioral health inpatient unit to provide mental health crisis care tailored for youth with autism and neuro-diverse needs, family-centered behavioral healthcare, where family members will be actively engaged in their child’s care and be able to stay overnight, and outpatient spaces designed for more intensive outpatient treatment, day treatment, and group therapy programs

Expanding access to pediatric behavioral health services is part of Intermountain Health’s Primary Promise to build the nation’s model health system for children. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in the future of our children’s health has attracted $600 million in a powerful partnership between philanthropic members of the community and Intermountain Health.

“Today is all about keeping our Primary Promise,” said Katy Welkie, chief executive officer of Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital and vice president of Intermountain Children’s Health. “With the state of Utah’s $25 million funding, and Intermountain Health’s financial match, we’re fortunate to be able to pursue these critical behavioral health services for youth in our community right now without the costs translating to our patients. Every day we delay is a missed opportunity to help a child thrive. With stakes this high, we cannot hesitate.”

Nationally, one in five children ages 3 to 17 faces either a mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral disorder.

The number of children and adolescents in Utah who report having poor mental health has more than doubled over the last decade. In fact, last year in Utah, 42.7% of youth who felt sad, hopeless, or suicidal did not talk to anyone about it. Suicide remains a leading cause of death for Utah youth.

“Primary Promise will directly contribute to lifesaving and life-changing advancements for the betterment of children everywhere,” said Utah businesswoman, civic leader, and philanthropist, Gail Miller, who, along with her family, contributed $50 million dollars to Primary Promise in 2020, the largest single investment in the history of the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation.

Miller has served as Primary Promise’s executive cabinet co-chair since the campaign’s inception and is the namesake of the Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Campus in Lehi.

“I invite every member of the community to partner with us, so that working together, we can help even more children grow up stronger,” Miller said.

One of those who has benefitted from these services is Liz, a young patient at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.

Liz received the family-centered, behavioral health services she needed through Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital when she was a young teen. Since then, she has graduated high school, and is looking forward to her future.

“A lot of the therapy is teaching parents how to cope, because we need it. And having those tools was huge,” said Liz’s mom, Kyla. “The Primary Children’s behavioral health team was an absolute lifeline for us. They saved my kid. And that’s something I can never repay.”

The current Intermountain Wasatch Canyons campus was constructed in the 1980s as a mixed-used facility. More recently, it was converted to an Intermountain Primary Children’s behavioral health campus, serving thousands of children and young adolescents in outpatient, inpatient, and day program behavioral health settings.

But the need has outgrown the facility.

Construction is underway on the new Intermountain Primary Children’s Behavioral Health Center, thanks to the $25 million state appropriation, supported by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, and approved by the Utah Legislature.

“This $25 million investment from the people of Utah represents the best of who we are, when government and community unite around shared purposes such as supporting the behavioral health of children,” said Rep. Steve Eliason, a member of the Utah House of Representatives. “With youth suicide being the number one cause of death for children in Utah, we should be laser focused on saving our children. This project is a critical step in that effort.”

The new Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital Behavioral Health Center will also house the Stabilization and Mobile Response program team, which responds to homes in moments of need to help stabilize children in crisis (1-833-SAFE-FAM), as well as the Intermountain Primary Children’s statewide Assessment, Referral, Consultation Service (ARCS) free service line at 801-313-7711, which helps connect young children and teens to services close to their communities.

ARCS and Stabilization and Mobile Response are available thanks to community partnerships, and are among several Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital service expansions implemented over the past few years, including:

  • Expanded group therapy options and crisis partial hospitalization programs, available at Primary Children’s Summit Day Programs in Ogden, and Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Campus in Lehi, and coming soon to Intermountain St. George Regional Hospital.
  • An entire floor of Miller Family Campus dedicated to behavioral health services for children.

“Behavioral health care takes all of us,” said Amanda Choudhary, senior director of pediatric behavioral health at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital. “We’re so excited about the new Behavioral Health Center, and what it will mean for patient care, and our ability to treat the entire family.”

“Be a part of history — the most significant investment ever made for the health and wellness of children in the Intermountain West. Children today, and for generations to come, need your support. We invite everyone to contribute today to help children in our community at PrimaryPromise.org,” said Choudhary.

About Intermountain Health

Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Health is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called Select Health with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information or updates, see https://intermountainhealthcare.org/news.