Campaign for Child and Adolescent Mental Health


The availability of mental health services, especially for children and adolescents, has never equaled the demand. In the years leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic, workforce shortages left many families with few options for mental health care. Stigma reduced accessibility further, and limited insurance coverage contributed to a declining capacity to deliver services to those in need, leaving children in jeopardy and families in states of desperation. The Covid-19 pandemic only worsened the situation, highlighting the glaring limitations of the current system while simultaneously increasing the mental health needs of an already underserved population.

Alarming rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation have been reported in pediatric patients, and staff at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital are responding to calls for mental health consults in record numbers, from 1,952 calls in 2019 to 2,685 in 2021. Young people facing a mental health crisis are flooding hospitals, causing a reduction in the number of beds and staffing for patients with physical illnesses and injuries. Limited referral options hinder the continuation of care, and as a result, some high-risk patients are housed at the Children’s Hospital for extended periods of time because needed programs do not exist in the Central New York community or have reached capacity.

Children and families in crisis

The mental health of our children and adolescents has become so concerning that the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association recently declared a national emergency. The US Surgeon General has called for growth of community-level mental health teams for children. Children and families are in crisis in our community, and mental health service providers simply cannot keep up withthe need. The demand is simply too great.

A collaborative effort

The Upstate Foundation, in conjunction with Upstate Medical University, Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, Upstate Department of Psychiatry and Elmcrest Children’s Center, is embarking on an important, collaborative response to this national and local emergency to increase clinical capacity and improve access to critical services. A $5.3 million campaign is underway, and we welcome your partnership as we move forward to address this urgent need in our community.

What this campaign is supporting

Upstate Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Fellowship

The Upstate Medical University Department of Psychiatry is addressing the need for access to care and workforce shortages through its new psychiatric nurse practitioner fellowship, a one-year program that is an accelerated pipeline to providers trained specifically to treat child and adolescent mental health issues. Click here to learn more…

Elmcrest Children’s Center

Elmcrest Children’s Center is opening a 28-bed respite program to serve children who need clinical care, but not in a hospital or outpatient setting. The three-week program, conducted in partnership with Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital and approved by the New York State Office of Mental Health, will offer continuous support to children and their families through 24-hour on-call services, reducing avoidable hospital emergency room visits. Click here to learn more…

Suicide Prevention

The Psychiatry High Risk Program at Upstate Medical University is an innovative, recovery-based suicide prevention program that provides comprehensive treatment for youth and young adults ages 14 through 40 who are at high risk for suicide. The program tries to break the downward spiral of recurrent hospitalizations, crisis management and chronic illness by addressing underlying vulnerabilities and providing transformative healing leading to recovery. 

The Psychiatry High Risk Program is designated bythe national Suicide Prevention Resource Center as a “best practice” and was given the American Psychiatric Association’s prestigious 2023 Psychiatric Services Silver Award for innovative and effective care. Click here to learn more…

Upstate Opioid Bridge Clinic

The Upstate Opioid Bridge Clinic is an innovative emergency medicine approach to aiding the fight against opioid use disorder. It offers comprehensive treatment beginning with an initial dose of buprenorphine, and provides patients with short-term outpatient treatment to manage their opioid use disorder until they enter a rehab program or find a community provider for longer-term treatment. Click here to learn more…

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Dr. Stephen Faraone, PhD, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Upstate Medical University, has created, a website that seeks to improve the lives of people with ADHD by providing patients, families and clinicians evidence-based conclusions about the disorder based on extensive scientific research by himself and others. Click here to learn more…

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are serious and potentially fatal illnesses, with dramatic effects on an adolescent’s physical and psychological health, along with significant effects on the whole family. Treatment involves a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach involving a registered dietician, specialized therapist, psychiatrist and medical doctor, and includes the patient’s family. Yet more assistance is needed such as a parent-peer navigator, specialized social worker, and additional training for nurses, residents and others. Click here to learn more…

Dual Diagnosis Unit

The Upstate Golisano Center for Special Needs is establishing a 12-bed, six-week specialized inpatient unit to stabilize children and adolescents (aged 5-18 years old) with both mental illness and intellectual disabilities. This dual diagnosis unit will help increase access and care for one of the most underserved special needs populations nationwide. Currently, there are only 11 units in the country and none in New York specifically designed to address the clinical needs of children with dual diagnoses and who also exhibit destructive behavior. Click here to learn more…

How you can help

Your donation will impact this urgent crisis. 

Give online: form below

Give by mail: Upstate Foundation, 750 East Adams Street, Syracuse, NY 13210
Make check payable to: Upstate Foundation and reference the Child Mental Health in the memo

Give by phone: 315-464-4416

Named Giving Opportunities

For more information about Named Giving Opportunities, please call the Upstate Foundation office: 315-464-4416.



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