NewsCovering Colorado


UCHealth adding an important new mental health resource for Colorado

Posted at 9:32 PM, Mar 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-06 14:59:09-05

AURORA — There is a new layer of mental health care that will soon be available in Colorado.

“We need to be able to meet the needs of the patients, wherever they are, whoever they are, whenever it is, and sometimes people need to have an inpatient level of care. And that's exactly what we're going to be able to provide,” said UCHealth Psychiatry Clinical Director, Dr. Edward MacPhee.

The new inpatient unit at the UCHealth campus in Aurora will serve patients from communities across Colorado who suffer severe mood and thought disorders requiring intensive treatments like electroconvulsive therapy.

“For the folks who have treatment-resistant depression, we're going to be able to get to the level of interventional psychiatry,” said MacPhee

“Our goal is to treat every patient we see with dignity, and respect and try to eliminate that stigma that society has created around mental health,” said Patient Safety Manager, Kevin Smith.

The new facility brings a centralized care center for some of the most difficult mental health disorders.

It is an addition to a continuum of care UCHealth leaders have been working to expand and improve since 2019.

“It's needing access to care at that right level of care in that right moment,” said, Inpatient Behavioral Health, Senior Director, Anne Felton.

The healthcare provider committed to a five-year $150 million investment into behavioral health services.

“We provide these as a part of our community benefit because it is what the community needs,” said UCHealth Vice President of Behavioral Health, Elicia Bunch.

The network of Colorado hospitals and clinics has added inpatient psychiatric beds.

Another program pairs behavioral health clinicians with law enforcement to meet, assess, and often treat people having a mental health crisis before they have to go to a hospital or jail.

A treatment option connecting patients by video to behavior health services started before COVID, but proved even more valuable during the pandemic.

“Many Coloradans actually live in mental health professional shortage areas, and the virtual Behavioral Health Center has allowed us to ensure access to care,” said Bunch.

When the new inpatient unit opens this summer in Aurora it adds 40 beds to Colorado’s mental and behavioral health network.

“The goal is to proactively identify the need for behavioral health support and connect our patients to care in a proactive way,” said Bunch.

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