Mental Health

Mental Health at AGH

Outpatient Services

Outpatient and partial hospitalization services are available at our Northside-based facility in the East Commons Professional Building near Allegheny General Hospital.

The Department recognizes the importance of the biological, psychological, and social aspects of psychiatric conditions.  Our psychiatrists and therapists give equal attention to all three areas in developing individual treatment plans for each patient.

We apply the latest advances in medication and therapeutic research to provide superior treatment for mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and psychotic disorders in patients of all ages. 

Outpatient services include:

Adult Psychiatric Services

Adult psychiatric services are comprised of an inpatient and outpatient component, both of which are overseen by P.V. Nickell, M.D., Chair of the Department.

Outpatient services are offered in our Northside-based facility at the East Commons Professional Building for adults who are experiencing a wide range of emotional and behavioral problems, including those that arise in the context of medical illnesses.  A staff consisting of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and psychiatric clinicians can implement medication management, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and family therapy, among other treatment modalities, as part of a multidisciplinary approach to the patient's care. 

Alicia Kaplan, M.D., Amit Chopra, M.D. and P.V. Nickell, M.D. are currently involved in Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), a treatment for severe obsessive compulsive disorder that has experienced an increase in awareness and attention.  DBS is the implantation of a battery-operated device in the brain, similar to a heart pacemaker, which emits electrical signals that alter brain circuits.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the device last year and results from a recent study revealed 26 patients showed a 40 percent reduction in severe symptoms.

Listen to Medical Frontiers topic "Psychiatry" which aired on January 2, 2012, and featured Dr. Alicia Kaplan, WPAHS expert on anxiety disorders and OCD

Medical Frontiers is an informational program sponsored and produced by the West Penn Allegheny Health System. It airs Monday evenings from 7 to 8 pm on Pittsburgh’s CBS radio affiliate, KDKA-AM 1020. Hosted by retired Allegheny General Hospital orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Gerald Pifer, the show is a live production that features guests from across the spectrum of West Penn Allegheny’s physician organization and allows listeners to call in with questions relative to the topic of the hour.

Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services

The Department of Psychiatry is dedicated to focusing on its outpatient child and adolescent services that are maintained at our North Side facility on the 8th floor of the East Commons Professional Building. Diagnostic, evaluation and treatment services are available for children and adolescents experiencing emotional and/or behavioral problems, including:

  • Adjustment disorders
  • Affective disorders
  • Attention deficit disorders
  • Oppositional, defiant, and conduct disorders
  • Tourette's disorder
  • Autism, Asperger's disorders, Pervasive developmental delays

 

Individual, family, group and pharmacotherapy are all available when necessary.  The various modes of treatment allow children and adolescents to function in their own environment and foster increased confidence and independence.

The general outpatient program is directed by Anthony Mannarino, Ph.D., who is also the program director for the Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents, another component of the Division of Child and Adolescent Services.


Learn more about Child Psychiatry in our Health Library.

Learn more about Adolescent Psychiatry in our Health Library.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

The Department of Psychiatry offers a specialized program dedicated to treating severely depressed patients with Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT).  This therapy may also be considered for those suffering from other severe psychiatric disorders such as mania, psychosis, or schizophrenia.  ECT involves stimulation of the brain by a small, carefully prescribed amount of electrical current that works to restore the brain's normal activity and lifts depression.

Services provided include comprehensive evaluations, ECT treatments followed by a two-phase recovery process, and outpatient continuation therapy.  Continuation therapy in the form of ECT or medications, may be required to prevent a relapse and help ensure that the primary ECT treatment is effective.  Follow-up treatment is conducted on an outpatient basis, usually for at least six months.  The treatment schedule is based on each person's recovery.

The program is operated by P.V. Nickell, M.D. and is conducted at Forbes Regional Hospital.

To make a referral or to obtain more information, please call 412.858.2707.

Psychological Services

The section on Psychology/Neuropsychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Allegheny General Hospital is dedicated to the provision of high quality clinical care, educational experiences and research activities. Individual psychologists are well trained and experienced clinicians with a variety of backgrounds and specialty interests. There are both child and adult psychologists in the division. Clinical services include psychological assessment and testing, individual therapy, group therapy, marital/couples therapy and family therapy. We provide these services as part of the outpatient clinic in the Department of Psychiatry at Allegheny General Hospital, in consultation with our inpatient units and Partial Hospital Program.

The clinical interests of our adult psychologists include treatment of depressive disorders as well as anxiety disorders. Child psychologists specialize in the treatment of young children with behavior, mood, and anxiety disorders. Clinical neuropsychologists provide testing and therapeutic services to individuals who have psychological reactions to brain dysfunction, closed head injury or neurologic disease.

Our psychologists are involved in providing education as part of the formal training programs in the Department of Psychiatry and Allegheny General Hospital. These programs include psychiatry residency, medical specialty fellowships and medical students. We have an American Psychological Association Accredited Doctoral Level Psychology Internship training program for which our psychologists serve as faculty. Additionally graduate students from surrounding universities obtain clinical practicum training under the supervision of our psychologists. We also offer specialty undergraduate summer internship programs.

Research interests of the psychologists include treatment of child stress and trauma, promotion of healthful behavior in children and adolescents, neuropsychological assessment of executive function and attention deficits, Bipolar Disorder, cognitive effects of ECT, and the detection of malingering.


Learn more about Behavior Disorders in our Health Library.

Learn more about Depression in our Health Library.

Learn more about Mood Disorder in our Health Library.

Partial Hospitalization Program

The Intensive Psychiatric Day Treatment Program for Adults provides cost-effective mental health day treatment to patients who would otherwise require hospitalization. The program, one of the first of its kind in the region, often prevents the need for hospitalization or reduces the length of stay, allowing patients to remain in their home environments while receiving treatment. Services provided include, but are not limited to, structured group treatment, comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, and education for patients and families about psychiatric disorders and their treatment.  The program is comprised of a medical director (Dale Hindmarsh, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist), program director (Nancy Kennedy, Psy.D., licensed psychologist), psychiatric nurses, psychiatric residents and psychology interns.

The program promotes a close liaison with referral sources, involving referring clinicians during treatment when possible.  The average length of stay is one calendar month, three to six hours per day of structured group treatment, with an emphasis on the patient's rapid return to functioning at home and in the community.

To make a referral or to request information, please contact the Program Director at 412.330.4062. 


Care for Children and Adolescents

Our Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is staffed by board certified child and adolescent psychiatrists, licensed doctoral-level psychologists, and master’s level therapists. We provide consultation to children and adolescents who are hospitalized on the medical floors at Allegheny General Hospital and provide an array of specialized outpatient programs to meet the needs of youth.

Our Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents offers immediate evaluation and treatment for children and their families who have experienced traumatic life events.  This program is the only one of its kind in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and has received national recognition for its innovative clinical treatment approaches and research program.

Trauma-Focused CBT for Children and AdolescentsTrauma-Focused CBT for Children and Adolescents Treatment Applications, edited by Judith A. Cohen, M.D. and Anthony P. Mannarino, Ph.D., Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents, Allegheny General Hospital, and Esther Deblinger, Ph.D., School of Osteopathic Medicine, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, became available in May 2012 and is receiving critical acclaim.

Since the publication of Cohen et al's Treating Trauma and Traumatic Grief in Children and Adolescents, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) has become the leading empirically supported treatment for children exposed to traumatic life events. This book -- featuring a wealth of clinical examples -- describes ways that TF-CBT is being applied in a wide range of contexts and with diverse populations.

Care for Adults

In addition to caring for patients hospitalized on the medical floors at Allegheny General Hospital, our team offers comprehensive outpatient treatment for adults, including our  regionally-recognized Intensive Psychiatric Day Treatment Program. 

Neuropsychologists in our Section of Psychology and Neuropsychology group provide sophisticated neuropsychological evaluation and treatment services to outpatients with various medical, psychiatric, and neurological conditions. 

The program currently features a support group for those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury. Enrollment is ongoing and open at any time.   

Outpatient Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) services are offered in our offices at Forbes Hospital in Monroeville.

General Information

To make an appointment, please call 412.330.4000, the department's scheduling office. A telephone screen will be conducted by a Central Intake staff person and an appointment scheduled. Before your appointment date, you will receive a packet in the mail.  This packet consists of an appointment confirmation letter, directions to the outpatient department's location, and a few forms which should be completed prior to your initial evaluation.  We ask that you arrive 10-15 minutes earlier for your first appointment to allow for the processing of any/all paperwork and to collect a copayment, if applicable. For those patients with a copayment, please keep in mind that payment is due at the time of service.

Support Services

Professional Education

Allegheny General Hospital is dedicated to providing optimal mental health care. As an academic institution, the Department of Psychiatry at Allegheny General Hospital considers education to be one of its paramount missions. Department faculty are actively involved in undergraduate and graduate medical education and participate in the training experience of its psychologists, residents, fellows and medical students. The department has an American College of Graduate Medical Education accredited residency program as well as an accredited psychology training program.

Psychiatry Residency Program

Psychology Internship Program

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program

 

Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds

Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds are held on Thursdays from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm at a location usually reserved in the hospital.
 

CME Activities

The Department of Psychiatry conducts several presentations throughout the calendar year that offer CME credits.

Research

The Department of Psychiatry is committed to the area of research. Current studies are noted below.

Allegheny General Hospital Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents

Principal Investigator: Judith Cohen, M.D.
Co-Principal Investigator: Anthony Mannarino, Ph.D.
Length of Study: October 1, 20012 - September 30, 2016
Funding Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

The AGH CTSCA continues as a National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) Treatment and Service Adaptation Center with national expertise in clinical interventions for traumatic stress reactions and traumatic grief. This study will address behavioral health disparities for children in foster care, LGBTQ youth, and military children with traumatic stress reactions or traumatic grief. The focus will be on addressing underserved communities and disparities in recruiting new members of these groups. With Supplemental Funding, Dr. Cohen and Dr. Mannarino will develop a clinical interventions for traumatic stress and traumatic grief partnership of national experts, highly experienced service providers and consumers, to develop and evaluate strategies of national impact to establish a sustainable workforce of therapists who can provide affordable, high quality TF-CBT and AF-CBT for children across the United States.

Dissemination of TF-CBT in Residential Treatment Facilities in Pennsylvania

Principal Investigators: Judith Cohen, M.D. and Anthony Mannarino, Ph.D.
Length of Study: March 1, 2010-July 31, 2013
Funding Source: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

This study will train clinicians in residential treatment facilities across the state of Pennsylvania in TF-CBT as well as measure outcomes in the children.

Cognitive Functioning in Childhood Trauma

Principal Investigator: Glen Getz, Ph.D.
Years Funded: Ongoing
Funding Source: Allegheny General Hospital, Department of Psychiatry

Study description:
Cognition in children between the ages of 8-12 years old who have experienced trauma prior to receiving treatment is being examined. This study is comparing performance on measures examining cognitive functioning in children who suffer childhood trauma vs. a nontrauma comparison group. Based upon preliminary results from previous research, this study focuses on four specific areas of cognitive functioning: sustained attention, memory, facial affect recognition and executive functioning. This study also aims to better understand the effect of depression and anxiety in these children on cognitive skills.

The Warhol Project

This project will integrate sensory art techniques with an established evidence-based treatment (trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy [TF-CBT]) for traumatized children and adolescents with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) including diminished facial expression recognition. Through collaboration between the Andy Warhol Museum and the Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents staffs, the project will develop and evaluate the acceptability of adding a half-day art workshop at the Andy Warhol Museum for traumatized children ages 7-17. The study is funded from April 1, 2012 through March 31, 2014.