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CCSD Partners with Children’s Hospital and CU Department of Psychiatry to Open Groundbreaking Mental Health Day-Treatment Facility

CCSD LogoThe Cherry Creek School District has selected Children’s Hospital Colorado (Children’s Colorado) and the CU Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine as partners that will work together to open a mental health day-treatment program in the Cherry Creek School District. Through this unique partnership, Children’s Colorado and the CU Department of Psychiatry intend to oversee and provide staffing for the clinical aspect of the program while Cherry Creek will provide the educational and space component.

“We are incredibly excited for this opportunity to ensure our students get the chance to access critical mental health services that will support them along the pathway to their future,” Superintendent Christopher Smith said. “Our partnership with the CU Department of Psychiatry and Children’s Colorado is vital to its success and will positively impact our students, families and community. We are grateful to our voters for approving the bond funds that will allow Cherry Creek to build this important facility.”

The facility will be located on Cherry Creek’s Joliet Campus and is currently under construction.  

“This is an amazing opportunity for both CU Department of Psychiatry and Children’s Colorado and the Cherry Creek School District,” said Dr. Tony Poole, Cherry Creek Assistant Superintendent of Special Populations. “We believe this is a first-of-its-kind day-treatment facility in the nation that is built and operated by a school district. Through this partnership, we hope to create a model for other school districts in Colorado and across the country in providing clinical mental health support to students who are in need.”

“We have students in crisis walking our hallways,” Poole said. “When those students don’t get the help they need, it can be devastating. This facility will be a place where students can get wrap-around mental health support while continuing their education.”

“We are proud to partner with Cherry Creek School District and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine on this groundbreaking, innovative model for youth mental health treatment to provide the best supports to kids in the right place and at the right time with the right care team based in their community and to help them return to the classroom,” said Ron-Li Liaw, MD, Chair of the Division of Child and Adolescent Mental Health for the CU Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health-in-Chief at Children’s Colorado. “The goal of this program is to meet our students and their families where they are struggling and provide them with the best evidence-based clinical care to improve their interrelated academic engagement, supportive relationships, mental health and wellbeing.” 

Mental health can have a significant impact on students as well as their peers and the adults around them, but many students who need a therapeutic setting cannot currently access one. The number of mental health treatment facilities in Colorado for students with mental health needs is just one quarter of what it was 10 years ago. This program and its unique partnership will provide much needed support to students in the Cherry Creek School District.   

Scheduled to open in fall 2023, the facility will offer three levels of support to students based on clinical need. On a yearly basis, the district has approximately 75 students in mental health treatment facilities, where most struggle to provide an educationally integrated approach, opening the door for challenges when the student eventually returns to school. The option of a district-run facility with a unique step-down approach will allow more students to receive the intensive mental health care they need, as well as the educational support they need to transition smoothly back to their home schools. 

- Posted 8/8/2022