Mental Health in Primary Care Program

The pediatricians supporting the Mental Health in Primary Care program take a holistic approach to providing mental health services. Access to compassionate mental health care is an integral component of total body wellness and we take the time to understand the individual needs of patients and families. Our providers emphasize the role that proper nutrition, regular exercise and healthy sleep patterns play in a young person’s mood and stress level. The Mental Health in Primary Care program collaborates with therapists and other community providers ensuring continuity of care for patients starting at 11 years old up until their 25th birthday.

Our Services

Our team evaluates and treats:

  • ADHD (includes medication if needed)
  • Mild-moderate anxiety and depression (includes medication if needed)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Bullying
  • School challenges

Many adolescents experience physical symptoms associated with stress, which may include:

  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Sore or tense muscles
  • Chest tightness
  • Lack of energy
  • Headaches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sweaty or cold hands and feet

As part of a comprehensive assessment, our team can assist with referrals to therapy and determine whether these symptoms require additional evaluation.

Meet the Team

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Pictured: Sarah Cohen, LCSW (center); Maria H. Rahmandar, MD (right)

Maria H. Rahmandar, MD | Pediatrician, Adolescent Medicine Specialist (she/her)

Dr. Rahmandar is an attending physician in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Lurie Children's, and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, with a secondary appointment in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She is board-certified in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. She attended Princeton University (BA), Baylor College of Medicine (MD), Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Pediatric Residency) and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (Adolescent Medicine Fellowship). Her clinical interests include adolescent substance use, mental health and long-acting birth control (implants IUDs). 

Sarah Cohen, LCSW | Medical Social worker, Division of Adolescent Medicine (she/her)

Sarah is a medical social worker within the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Lurie Children’s. Sarah joined the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine in 2015 and works closely with patients and families who come for primary care, mental health services, sexual health services and HIV related services. Sarah’s previous experience includes working at Planned Parenthood, at North Shore University Health System in the postpartum depression program and Center on Halsted as well as working with homeless adults at a shelter.  Sarah has a passion for working with teens and young adults on issues around sexual health, mental health and relationships.

Sarah received her undergraduate degree from University of Wisconsin Madison in Women’s Studies in 2005 and a Masters in Social Work and a MA in Women’s Studies from Loyola University of Chicago in 2008. Sarah received her LCSW in 2010.

Make an Appointment

For a new appointment, please call 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC). Lurie Children’s KIDS DOC staff will help youth and families set up a formal intake phone call with the program social worker. These intake calls help us better understand your needs and expectations prior to a clinical appointment. These calls also provide patients and families with an opportunity to ask additional preliminary questions about our practice.

**Please note that the Mental Health in Primary Care Program does not manage eating disorders. If you need referrals, please call KIDS DOC at 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC). 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Can I Expect at My First Appointment?
    All new patients arrive 20 minutes prior to their appointment in order to complete questionnaires about the patients’ concerns. Both parents and patients may be asked to complete these assessments. This paperwork provides us with additional insights into your needs to helps us to make the most of your appointment time. Our pediatricians ensure take their time with patients and families during appointment, often meeting with the family together in addition to meeting separately with both patients and guardians.

  • Do I Need to Switch My Primary Care Physician to Participate in This Clinic?
    No, our physicians often work in collaboration with primary care providers, providing clear communication, ongoing support, and a continuity of care for shared patients.

  • Do I Need to Have a Therapist to Access These Services?
    We believe that therapy is an integral component to mental health support. For patients who do not currently have a therapist, our program social worker will provide referrals. When needed, patients may be provided with referrals to a psychiatrist if more specialized care is needed.