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Humboldt Park Teen Health Center Adds Mental Health Services

By Paul Biasco | September 6, 2016 5:25am
 The Erie Teen Center is at 2418 W. Division Street.
The Erie Teen Center is at 2418 W. Division Street.
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DNAinfo/Paul Biasco

HUMBOLDT PARK — A teen health center in Humboldt Park is expanding its services to offer psychiatric care for its patients on-site.

The Erie Teen Center, the only freestanding teen-only center of its kind in the city, moved to its new location in Humboldt Park in the fall and over its first few months in the neighborhood realized the need to increase care for teens suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental problems.

The center, 2418 W. Division St., specializes in services for teens and young adults offering free pregnancy testing, testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, and behavioral counseling.

The expansion of psychiatric care this summer will eliminate a step of referring a teen to see another doctor or psychiatrist in the city and allow the issues to be addressed the same day.

"In that moment in that day they are not leaving empty handed thinking 'I have to wait three more days before dealing with my depression,' " said Robin Varnado, director of behavioral and adolescent health for the center.

Varnado said often times that dela between an initial visit and the follow-up appointment can result in a no-show.

"If people meet whoever is going to work with them right then when they are having the issue, it makes them more likely to show up for follow-up appointments," said Alissa Catilez, a behavioral health consultant at the center. "The hope is to offer as useful of a service right then and there."

The center is also working with community organizations on outreach efforts to get homeless youths and families mental health services.

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