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News and Community Events

News and Community Events


Laurel Heights Academy Students Donate Blessing Bags for Homeless at Atlanta Traffic Lights

Atlanta, GA – December 12, 2022 – Laurel Heights Academy, a private school within Lauren Heights Hospital, recently announced the donation of Blessing Bags for the homeless.

Marya Marcum-Jones, Director of Education, said, “Our Student Council wanted to give back to others this holiday season. They packed “Blessing Bags” with crackers, fruit bars, band-aids, hand-warmers, Chap Stick, socks and disposable wipes for staff to keep in their cars to give to those less fortunate making a request near traffic lights across the city.”

Alexandra Evraets, Student Council Advisor, said creating Blessing Bags gave students a therapeutic opportunity put their own struggles in perspective. “Many of our students have been in tough situations emotionally and physically and helping others provides insight for them to be thankful for what they have and to be a blessing to others.”

The Student Council at Laurel Heights Academy has two representatives from each of five psychiatric residential programs at Laurel Heights Hospital with students ranging in ages of six to 17 years old. In November, the Student Council sponsored a “Thankfulness Cornucopia” and a Fall Art contest.

About Laurel Heights Academy

Laurel Heights Academy is a private school within Laurel Heights Hospital, a private child and adolescent behavioral health facility located in Atlanta, Georgia. Laurel Heights Hospital’s residential programs are accredited by The Joint Commission. Our mission is to provide the highest quality psychiatric and behavioral care to meet the needs of the children and families we serve. Our treatment programs are tailored to children and adolescents with complex psychiatric and behavioral problems. The facility offers several residential treatment units separated by age and gender, a separate residential program for children who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and a specialty acute inpatient unit for children in psychiatric crisis with co-occurring neurodevelopmental disabilities. We also offer general psychiatric acute care for children ages 6 – 17. Learn more: https://laurelheightshospital.com/

Media Contact:
Sonya Rice
[email protected]

Laurel Heights Hospital Recognized for Reducing Wait Times for Children and Adolescents Needing Inpatient Behavioral Health Care

Laurel Heights Hospital is recognized by XFERALL, a national patient transfer network, for achieving the fastest response time to patient transfer requests from acute hospital emergency department staff for children and adolescents needing inpatient behavioral health treatment.

Laurel Heights Hospital’s admissions team responded, on average, within 34 minutes 35 seconds to accept patients for transfer to their facility from other hospitals for the first quarter of 2021 – 70 percent faster than all other hospitals on the XFERALL network. Laurel Heights joined the XFERALL network in March 2020.

The achievement means that children and adolescents experiencing a psychiatric crisis in the Atlanta region are waiting less time in area hospital emergency departments and are getting the care they need more quickly. Combining efficient intake operations with innovative technology has positioned Laurel Heights as a leader for pediatric behavioral health care.

“Hospital emergency departments are not a therapeutic environment for any child or adolescent experiencing severe emotional or behavioral symptoms,” said Patrick McDaniel, CEO, Laurel Heights Hospital. “Our admissions team, led by Molly Murphy, is committed to making sure that children do not wait any longer than absolutely necessary for behavioral health treatment, and I’m delighted that XFERALL is recognizing them for this outstanding achievement.”

XFERALL is a national patient transfer network and mobile application that facilitates transfer of patients in psychiatric crisis to appropriate care settings. With XFERALL, hospital ED staff can post a need for patient transfer to a network of possible receiving facilities and within minutes receive confirmation from receiving hospitals of bed availability. The app allows clinicians to upload clinical documentation one time and eliminates the need to call facilities one-by-one to find an available bed.

“XFERALL applauds the admission team at Laurel Heights for its commitment to ensuring that children and adolescents across the Atlanta region get the behavioral health care they need quickly,” said Nathan Read, CEO, XFERALL. “We know that when patients, no matter their age, have to wait in hospital emergency departments that quality of care and outcomes are worse and the risk is greater that patients will leave the ED without being seen by a provider.”

Nationally, hospital emergency department wait times for children and adolescents needing behavioral health treatment are getting longer. Over the course of the decade between 2005 and 2015, the number of children’s ED mental health visits lasting more than 6 hours increased from 16.3 percent to 24.6 percent, according to an April 2021 study published in Pediatrics. The proportion of mental health ED visits lasting more than 12 hours increased from 5.3 percent to 12.7 percent.

Since 2019, XFERALL has expedited the transfer of thousands of children and adolescents experiencing a behavioral health crisis to clinically appropriate inpatient treatment. Placement time for all children and adolescents on the network across the country for the first quarter of 2021 was 01:53:27. The national average is more than 8 hours. Overall, XFERALL has reduced the time from initial request for transfer to inpatient acceptance by 86 percent for all behavioral health patients on the network.


Based in Austin, TX, XFERALL helps hospitals, law enforcement, mobile behavioral health crisis teams, and community mental health agencies improve patient transfers through the healthcare system to access clinically appropriate care. The XFERALL mobile application and web-based platform coordinates outbound patient transfer requests to improve access, timeliness, and quality of care for patients with acute physical conditions and for patients with behavioral health conditions. More information at XFERALL.com.

Community Events

At Laurel Heights Hospital, we believe in supporting the communities we serve. Our presence and participation at local community-oriented events help spread awareness of important behavioral health-related issues and garners community support for our endeavors. Please join us.

Upcoming Community Events

Virtual Differences are Good!

CEU’s available for MSW, LMFT, LPC, POST, FVIP, DECAL, BCW Project SCEIs in Area 1 | Children and Families – Birth to 8 & Nursing.

This course lays a foundation for exploring biases and stereotypes and the importance of moving beyond them when working with clients and colleagues. Through dialogue and activity participants will analyze their own perceptions and how they can work better with others.

At the end of this course learners will be able to:

  • Understand the value of diversity
  • Analyze their personal perceptions regarding differences
  • Be able to behave in ways which value differences
  • Use strategies to work more effectively with those who are in the minority

Upcoming Sessions

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 25, 2020 | 8:00 AM—11:30 AM CDT
Register Now ›

FRIDAY OCTOBER 2, 2020 | 1:30 PM—5:00 PM EDT
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FRIDAY OCTOBER 9, 2020 | 1:30 PM—5:00 PM EDT
Register Now ›

Past Community Events and Partnerships

  • March 20-21, 2019: Sponsor of School Social Workers of Georgia’s Annual Conference, Callaway Gardens.
  • March 29 2019: Laurel Heights Hospital offers counseling on a volunteer basis at Teen Maze at Morgan County High School in Madison, Georgia.
  • April 13, 2019: Supporter of the Annual Autism Resource Fair and Family Day, Pop Austin Recreation Center in Columbus, Georgia.
  • April 27, 2019: Keynote Speaker of Tennessee Autism Society Conference in Johnson City, Tennessee.
  • April 28, 2019: Sponsor of the Autism Speaks Annual Walk in Atlanta, Georgia. ·
  • September 28, 2019: Sponsor of the Bryan County Resource Fair at Richmond Hill Elementary School.

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We’re Here to Help

Laurel Heights Hospital’s professional staff are ready to help find the best treatment options for your child. Call 404-888-5475 for a no-cost, confidential assessment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you need immediate medical assistance, contact 911 or seek the nearest emergency room.