Promise to Expand Intermountain Healthcare, Primary Children’s Hospital Pediatric Behavioral Health Services Inspires $10 Million Gift

Gift to the Intermountain Foundation will help Intermountain Healthcare and Primary Children’s expand and enhance behavioral health services to improve mental wellness in children and teens and help prevent mental health crises.

Greg and Julie Cook
Greg and Julie Cook
Greg and Julie Cook

Salt Lake City, Utah, Oct. 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Intermountain Healthcare and Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital are launching a bold plan to enhance mental and behavioral health services for children and teens in crisis throughout the Intermountain West – an effort that has inspired an extraordinary $10 million gift from Utah community leaders Greg and Julie Cook.  

The Cooks’ generous and transformational gift to the Intermountain Foundation will help Intermountain Healthcare and the experts at Primary Children’s expand and enhance behavioral health services to improve mental wellness in children and teens and help prevent mental health crises. 

Suicide is a leading cause of death among children ages 10-17 years. Intermountain Healthcare’s hospital emergency departments have seen a more than 300 percent increase in pediatric mental health crises over the past eight years, and an estimated 40 percent of kids who have depression are not getting care, said Katy Welkie, RN, MBA, CEO of Primary Children’s Hospital and Vice President of Intermountain Children’s Health. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the ongoing need for additional mental, behavioral, and emotional health resources,” Welkie said. “It is our responsibility as a community of passionate, motivated, and family-driven individuals to tackle this crisis head on. Thanks to the generous gift given by the Cook family, we will continue to build on our primary promise to offer additional support for children in our community.”

For teenagers like Holland, these services are critical to achieving a hopeful future.

“I think I just stopped caring. I was living like it was my last day, every day. I didn’t feel like I had a future, or anywhere to go,” said Holland, 16, recalling her struggle before getting help from Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital’s behavioral health services. “I’m really grateful that there’s someone to talk to now.” 

With the help of the Cooks’ gift, Intermountain Healthcare and Primary Children’s Hospital will begin to offer: 

  • A new pediatric assessment, referral, and consultation service to screen, triage, and place children in the right services, both virtually and in person. Services will include both crisis response and stabilization, as well as a full array of treatment options.

  • Expansion of available care options, including a call center, TeleHealth services, and in-home crisis services. The call center will connect families to local providers and services throughout the Intermountain West.

  • A new pediatric behavioral health unit located at the second Primary Children’s Hospital campus being built in Lehi. Offering both inpatient and outpatient services, the new hospital will include a 12-bed behavioral health unit with private outdoor space conducive to healing and spiritual health. 

The new Lehi hospital location was selected to ensure the shortest drive time possible for the rapidly growing Utah County community.

“When we learned about Intermountain’s effort to

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