NewYork-Presbyterian today announced a $35 million gift from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation to address the youth mental health crisis through the expansion of its behavioral health services for children and adolescents.
With the support of this transformative gift, NewYork-Presbyterian will expand child and adolescent inpatient units and create a state-of-the-art ambulatory behavioral health center at NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health in White Plains; build upon its telepsychiatry services; and develop programs to increase awareness and access to youth mental health care and resources in the community.
The gift positions NewYork-Presbyterian to respond to the growing youth mental health crisis, as rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions soar. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other leading health organizations declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health in 2021. In the 10 years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, feelings of persistent sadness and hopelessness increased by about 40% in young people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The crisis escalated as children and teens experienced loss, social isolation, academic disruption, and other stressors during the pandemic.
“This generous gift from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation reflects our mutual commitment to help young people facing mental health challenges through innovative and compassionate behavioral health care,” said Jerry Speyer, chair of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital’s Board of Trustees. “We look forward to expanding our services to connect more young people with timely, world-class care.”
For those in need of inpatient services, the gift supports the renovation of the children’s inpatient unit and the unit that serves adolescents, as well as the creation of a second adolescent unit, increasing inpatient capacity by 25 percent. The gift will also allow the hospital to refurbish an existing building to create a new ambulatory care center to stabilize and diagnose young people in crisis and connect them with ongoing care. The building will be designed to be a welcoming, healing environment for patients and family members with individual and group therapy rooms, activity areas and comfort rooms.
“With the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation’s visionary gift, NewYork-Presbyterian will lead the way in providing vital care and support to young people and their families when they need it most,” said Dr. Steven J. Corwin, president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian. “We are deeply grateful to the Foundation for their partnership in transforming the way we deliver behavioral health care.”
“Access to high quality behavioral health treatment is so important for children and teenagers,” said Alex Cohen, president of the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation. “We are proud to partner with NewYork-Presbyterian as they work to address the devastating youth mental health crisis and help make a difference in the lives of young people and their families.”
As part of the gift, NewYork-Presbyterian will also leverage technology and innovation so NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health experts can provide urgent crisis assessment via telehealth for emergency departments throughout the NewYork-Presbyterian enterprise. It will also expand the reach of its care through the Bridge to Care program, which will help the hospital form partnerships with community-based providers, school-based health centers, and faith-based organizations to increase access to mental health services in Brooklyn, Queens, Lower Manhattan, and other underserved neighborhoods across the city.
“We thank the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation for the opportunity to expand, enhance and evolve our renowned child and adolescent psychiatry care,” said Dr. Philip J. Wilner, senior vice president for Behavioral Health and chief operating officer of NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health. “We are grateful for this extraordinary gift to expand the treatment we can provide to young people and their families.”
The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation has also supported the creation of the NewYork-Presbyterian Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Women and Newborns, a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to providing exceptional, individualized care to pregnant women and their newborns before, during, and after childbirth, and the Alexandra & Steven Cohen Pediatric Emergency Department at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.