New Cincinnati Children's facility aims to integrate cardiology, wellness care

Cincinnati Children's has opened a medical center that provides mental healthcare treatment with cardiovascular care.

The hospital's new Heart and Mind Wellbeing Center is designed to integrate mental healthcare and treatment for individuals living with congenital heart disease and their families and is the first facility of its kind in the U.S., according to a Jan. 24 news release from Cincinnati Children's. 


Treatment will be led by psychologists, social workers, and child life specialists who will work alongside cardiologists to care for patients' physical and mental health. The center also will conduct research into parental mental health, according to the release.


In a recent study, the American Heart Association highlighted the link between those living with heart conditions and the development of mental health issues. Diagnoses of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder in children and teenagers have increased 12 percent and pediatric heart failure emergency department visits rose 82 percent from 2012 to 2016.


Nadine Kasparian, PhD, psychologist and director of the center, said in the release she hopes the integrated approach will better address the physical and mental stressors associated with congenital heart disease.


"[Mental health treatment] needs to be integrated into routine medical care and accessible when our patients and their families need it most," she said in the release. "When cardiac care and mental healthcare go hand in hand, we normalize emotional responses to health challenges and reduce the stigma that often surrounds mental health."



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