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New Denver Area Program Developed For Teens in Crisis

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Highlands Behavioral Health System, a UHS facility, has announced the opening of its new Adolescent Center of Excellence for teens in crisis. The new treatment center is associated with the Adolescent Unit at Highlands Behavioral Health ( in Littleton, Colo.

Highlands Behavioral Health Spokeswoman Sheila Rockley, Ph.D., said the Adolescent Center of Excellence represents an expansion of the Adolescent Unit mission from crisis stabilization to a treatment oriented, patient care approach.

"Since opening in March 2007, our Adolescent Unit has seen an increasing number of teenagers with severe depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide," said Rockley. "We have created the center of excellence specifically to help teenagers who are dealing with these serious problems at a very difficult time in their lives."

Rockley said today's teens are exposed to more stress through innumerable social and environmental factors in their lives. This in turn can lead to self-medication with drugs and/or alcohol, or expressions of anger, screaming, rage or severe irritability. The Adolescent Center of Excellence program will help teenagers get through these tough times and provide coping skills for future challenges.

"Our program deals with teenagers in crisis," said Brian K. Wise, M.D., the psychiatrist who is directing the center of excellence program. "Not only do we stabilize the crises, but we go further by teaching these kids coping skills to start dealing with stressful, anxiety based situations in general. After that, we make sure the child is set up with resources in the community."

Wise is a University of Colorado Health Sciences Center physician and author trained in child and adolescent psychiatry. He developed the new program along with a team of mental health professionals because of the current lack of resources to help young people deal with acute mental illnesses.

The Highlands Behavioral Health System offers walk-in, no-cost assessments to parents who think their teen might be experiencing an acute mental illness crisis. Assessments are provided by licensed clinicians who will make a determination as to whether the child needs inpatient treatment or another community resource.

About Highlands Behavioral Health

Highlands Behavioral Health is an 86 bed inpatient mental health hospital and is located at 8565 S. Poplar Way in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The assessment and referral center services can be accessed by calling 1-800-NEW-HELP (639-4357). For more information visit Highlands Behavioral Health web site at

SOURCE Highlands Behavioral Health
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