Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta receives 10-acre land donation for mental health center

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) plans to soon open a medical center dedicated to pediatric behavioral and mental health.

According to a press release, David and Helen Zalik and their foundation, the Zalik Foundation, have agreed to donate approximately 10 acres of land, including two office buildings, to CHOA in a transaction expected to close later this year. The property is located off I-85 northbound near the Children’s North Druid Hill campus and will house the future Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Zalik Behavioral and Mental Health Center.

A photo of the future Zalik Center.

The land donation comes two months after the CHOA hired child psychiatrist John N. Constantino as its first chief behavioral and mental health officer.

“With the gift of Zalik and Children’s deep commitment to making an impact, our growing corps of mental health professionals will have a place to meet the community’s ever-growing needs for child mental health care in one space that supports recovery and facilitates the coordinated delivery of the latest innovations in clinical practice,” Constantino said in the press release. “This campus will also allow us to partner with providers across Georgia to transform pediatric behavior and mental health.”

According to a press release, the number of visits to a children’s emergency department for a primary behavioral or mental health problem has more than doubled to more than 4,000 visits per year. The median age of children faced with a behavioral or mental health emergency is nine years old.

“Children’s is committed to building a pediatric behavioral and mental health ecosystem that improves outcomes, reduces stigma and improves access to prevention, diagnosis and treatment,” said Constantino. “This gift will allow for an expansion of our reach and provide a ‘home base’ for in-person and virtual care across Georgia.”

In 2019, Children’s opened an outpatient clinic serving patients with anxiety, depression, somatic symptoms, medical adherence and behavioral problems. This new center is designed to expand that care and provide a central location to provide “evidence-based, behavioral, and mental health care to children across Georgia,” according to the press release.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Zaliks for caring so much about children and making a difference in addressing this crisis,” Children’s CEO Donna Hyland said in the release. “This amazing gift will be an exceptional resource for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Dr. Constantino and his team are there to address this issue.”

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