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New pediatric behavioral health unit to open at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center

Unit will feature 12 beds to accommodate growing need for young behavioral health patients

GLENDALE (August 2, 2021) – With an increasing need for behavioral health care in the Valley and around the country, Banner Thunderbird Medical Center recently completed a new 12-bed inpatient pediatric behavioral health unit for patients ages 5-12.

Banner medical experts have noted that in Arizona and across the country, there has been a significant increase in pediatric behavioral health cases at hospitals. This increase is in both pediatric patients under 13-years-old and over 13. While the trend predates the COVID-19 pandemic, it has accelerated in the past year.

Because of the need for more psychiatry beds in the Valley, Banner Behavioral Health Hospital also increased its bed count from 16 to 40 beds for patients over 13 in the last few years. But children under the age of 13 typically have the longest stays in emergency departments and continue to be an underserved patient population. This new unit will help alleviate that strain for emergency departments and create better care for these young patients as a result.

“I know that this will have a dramatic effect on the lives of these children and their families, and we are proud to offer this service that is so greatly needed in our community,” said Banner Behavioral Health CEO Bill Southwick.

The project was funded with proceeds from the Banner Health Foundation's 2019 Pulse of the City Soiree and a 2020 virtual fundraising campaign, Lighting the Way, to raise funds and awareness for youth mental health needs in Arizona. Construction was recently finished for the unit, which will begin accepting patients later in August.

About Banner Thunderbird Medical Center

Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale, Arizona, specializes in heart care, surgical services, obstetrics and gynecology, emergency and trauma care, behavioral health, cancer care, rehabilitation and pediatrics, including the West Valley’s only pediatric intensive care unit, pediatric Emergency department and Level III neonatal intensive care unit. Banner Thunderbird also operates a Level I Trauma Center for patients ages 15 and older. The hospital is part of Banner Health, a nonprofit health system with 30 hospitals in six states. For more information, please visit

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