By TAMEEKA CASTILLO

 New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray and Health & Hospitals Corporation head Ram Raju announced on Tuesday the formation of a new mental health program at Bellevue Hospital Center to provide psychiatric treatment to as many as 550 children a year.

“Bellevue’s Children’s Partial Hospitalization program allows children who suffer from depression and or domestic violence to gain the help they need to function properly,” said McCray. “The treatment would provide more treatment to young people than outpatient programs can provide.”

The program was expected to provide day treatment for patients between the ages of 6 and 17. It would eliminate the space between hospitalization and outpatient care. The program is an intensive , non- residential, therapeutic hospital-based program designed to provide clinical diagnostic treatment.

McCray has made juvenile mental health a signature issue of her tenure as First Lady.

“People suffering from mental issues might not show symptoms but neither the less they are still suffering,” said Dr. Raju.” Mental issues are not accidents and we need to provide a nurturing environment for these kids.”

The $1.4 million-a-year program allows patients to participate in individual and group psychotherapy. Clinicians also work closely with the families and social services providers who are involved with each child. Children also attend PS 35, a K-12 city school affiliated with Bellevue.

Jacqueline Lore , whose daughter and son was part of CPHP said that the program saved her children’s lives.

“My daughter started suffering from anxiety and wanted to kill herself. I brought her here and they gave her proper diagnosis and reduced her medication to the right levels,” she said. “She was a different child. She was bale to focus and she is graduating from high school in August.”

Emma, who was 16 years old when she first came to Bellevue, said she starting to struggle from an early age and found the staff at the hospital to be dynamic and helpful.

“My family spent loads of time running around looking for the correct for me.,” she said. I was constantly bounced around. Doctors here went above and beyond to find a plan that works for me.”

Bellevue Hospital has the only such center in the state, officials said.