Since 1989, the Mental Health Center of Denver has been addressing the 'whole person' needs of children, adults and families living in the City and County of Denver. Dahlia Campus is a part of Child and Family Services, which focuses on expanding supports to individual, children and their families particularly marginalized Denver neighborhoods. Existing programs assist families through infant & early childhood consultation, day treatment, school-based interventions, emerging adult services, vocational and educational support, home-based therapies, and more.
Over the past year, Child and Family Services at the Mental Health Center of Denver have provided treatment and outreach services to over 30,000 children and their families in a range of community settings, including schools, early learning centers, pediatric primary care clinics and Mental Health Center of Denver sites.
Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being Background
Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being is a 57,000 sq ft building located on a 4 acre site in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood which opened its doors in January of 2016. This innovative campus is the result of a strong partnership between the Mental Health Center of Denver and the Park Hill community. Over the last 4 years, Park Hill residents have shared their ideas about well-being, health, education, access to healthy food, access to dental care and mental health services. Building on the strengths of the community and informed by natural community leaders, the Dahlia Campus offers a comprehensive array of services including early childhood education, access to naturally grown produce and protein; and a variety of indoor and outdoor community spaces to support multigenerational populations as they gather, connect, play and grow. The campus features a teaching kitchen; community room, community gymnasium, pediatric dental clinic and a wide array of mental health services.
The research is clear --- the best way to prevent problems is not to narrowly reduce risks, but to broadly strengthen the individual, family, and community assets that young people have in their lives. We also know that earlier is easier, so the Dahlia Campus serves the complex needs of vulnerable children and families with a particular focus on early childhood.
Young children develop in the context of relationships. Sensitive, responsive and dependable relationships are key to providing the support and encouragement all children need for positive growth and development. In the first few years of life, 700 neural connections are formed every second, with 90 percent of a child's brain development happening by age five. Cultivating children's positive development and supporting adults as they provide a healthy, nurturing caregiver presence for their children are the most important ways we can facilitate bright futures. The Dahlia Campus does this through promoting sensitive parenting, improving access to high-quality early childhood education, providing access to fresh produce and healthy protein, and through our on-site pediatric dentistry.
Whether or not children are well neourished in their first few years of life can have a profound effect on their health status, as well as their ability to learn, communicate, think analytically, socialize effectively and adapt to new environments and people. Good nutrition is the first line of defense against numerous childhood diseases, which can leave their mark on a child for life. To support health and nutrition, Dahlia Campus features a 40,000 sq ft urban farm, aquaponics greenhouse, teaching kitchen and community gardens to increase access to healthy produce and protein.
Map of Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being
PBS NewsHour | Inclusive wellness center is an oasis for a neighborhood left behind (8 Minutes 11 Seconds)
Farms & Gardens Video (2 Minutes 45 Seconds)
9Health Fair Facebook Live Stream (18 Minutes)
2017 Farm Festival Video Montage (1 Minute)
In the News
Denver Post YourHub | Nov 1, 2017
Denver – Mental Health Center of Denver’s Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being was recognized last week in Melbourne, Australia by the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) with the organization’s Core Values Award. Dahlia Campus won Project of the Year for demonstrating excellence in public engagement before and during the launch of the campus in early 2016. Dahlia Campus was scored against the ‘best of the best’ competing with other winning projects by national IAP2 affiliates across the world.
PBS Newshour | March 21, 2017
After years of neglect, parents in one of Denver's poorest neighborhoods hoped that a new preschool would be built in their community. Instead, they got much more. William Brangham recently visited there, and he is back again with this report. It's part of our weekly series Making the Grade.
Denver Post | November 15, 2016
The empty lot in the Northeast Park Hill neighborhood has always just been called the Dahlia. That space of land off Dahlia Street and East 35th Avenue was once the country’s largest African-American-owned mall, and there have been many empty promises about what would take its place. But one promise was kept and the site is now called the Mental Health Center’s Dahlia Campus for Health and Well Being — and it’s still identified by the familiar name.
Rocky Mountain PBS speaks with Maya Wheeler and Dr. Lydia Prado exploring Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being. (Interview begins at 14:13)
Rocky Mountain PBS | May 27, 2016
DENVER - Leaders of the Second Chance Center in Aurora discuss what it takes to help parolees reintegrate in their communities and avoid going back to prison; How a new community center in Denver’s Park Hill became more than just a mental health clinic; Why Denver Police are reaching out to teens to improve their mutual perceptions about each other.
National Council for Behavioral Health | Feb 2, 2016
Denver’s Northeast Park Hill is a proud neighborhood filled with strong people. Built in the 1950s, Dahlia Square was the largest African-American-owned shopping center in the U.S. with a thriving grocery store, roller-skating rink, bowling alley and a full array of local businesses. But times changed and gradually the once popular neighborhood nucleus became an eyesore and was razed. It became a gaping hole in the neighborhood fabric.
Denver Post | December 14, 2015
Northeast Park Hill has seen promises broken before. So when Denver's community mental health center began planning a new clinic at the site of what was, in its heyday, the country's largest African-American-owned mall, the response was skepticism.
Dahlia Campus By the Numbers