NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters is building a new mental health facility just for children.
Hospital officials say it will address the critical shortage of services in our region.
Every day CHKD gets 15 to 20 referrals from primary care docs for mental health disorders and another three or more show up in the emergency department in crisis.
They need immediate help, but many times they end up waiting a day or longer to get it.
“It’s our goal to do something about that … its our responsibility, we feel like its our obligation to the community to really address this crisis facing our children,” said Amy Sampson, Senior Vice President Chief Engagement & Innovation Officer.
Sampson is in charge of the new mental health facility project. It will cost an estimated $60 million.
Perhaps, a small price for all the kids who need the kind of services it will provide.
“One in five children in our community and in the nation have a diagnosable mental health condition, about a quarter of them do not seek care and there is not care available for them,” Sampson told WAVY.com.
Many children she says must leave the Hampton Roads area or even the state.
This includes children with eating disorders that require inpatient care, those with autism who have a psychiatric diagnosis and the littlest patients.
2 to 5-year-olds who need to be hospitalized.
“If you look at the research 1 to 2 percent of children under the age of 5 actually have depression.” Sampson said.
The state has approved CHKD’s request for 60 new mental health beds.
12 beds will open in the existing hospital in about two years — the other 48 will be in the new facility, set to open in about four years.
The new facility will also bring intensive day treatment programs for kids who don’t need hospitalization or who need it as a transition back into their daily school and home life.
“We are trying to bring services as quickly and as reasonably and responsibly as we can to the community.”
CHKD is actively recruiting doctors and other staff for the new facility, which will employ about 250 people.
They are also working on the design of the building and programs, and will be asking for community input in the near future.