Facility focused on children’s mental health care

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Norfolk Southern Corporation has made a $2.5 million donation to Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters’ Children’s Pavilion, which opened for inpatient mental health care in October.

Norfolk Southern’s contribution has been recognized in the facility’s new education center, in which CHKD has a conference center to hold professional training, and provide educational opportunities and research focused on improving children’s mental health.

The education center is on the second floor of the 14-story, $224 million facility, which provides both inpatient and outpatient care.

Related: CHKD dedicates new Children’s Pavilion to serve inpatient mental health needs

“Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters plays a vital role across the Commonwealth, directly caring for our youngest citizens,” said Alan Shaw, president and CEO of Norfolk Southern, in a statement. “Hampton Roads is home to many of our colleagues, and together we are committed to supporting the hospital to provide mental health services for children in need.”

The mental health facility, at 401 Gresham Dr., includes private inpatient rooms, a rooftop recreation area for children to get exercise and fresh air, and therapeutic rooms for art and music therapy.

“Norfolk Southern has been a long-time supporter of CHKD, and this gift is a testament to the deep roots of the company in the Hampton Roads region and the commonwealth of Virginia,” said CHKD president and CEO Jim Dahling. “This gift will be a legacy in supporting the most vulnerable members of our community, and contribute to a better understanding of improving mental health in children across the country.”

CHKD said it expects the facility to ease a statewide shortage of psychiatric beds for children, while providing a “partial hospitalization” program that cares for children who will spend most of the day at the hospital, but still stay at home.

The building’s opening at a time when 20% of the nation’s children have a mental health condition. The pandemic also heightened anxiety in children experiencing isolation, along with insecurity created by deaths and job losses within their families.

Children’s Pavilion opened to outpatient mental health care, a primary pediatric practice, sports medicine, and laboratory and radiology services in April, and the first 12 inpatient psychiatric beds opened Oct. 11. The remaining 48 beds are expected to open in phases through mid-2023.

When fully operational, Children’s Pavilion will have 400 employees, including doctors, nurses, therapists and other mental health professionals who will treat children across Virginia and elsewhere.

It also have a fellowship training program for child and adolescent psychiatrists to train mental health providers, which CHKD said would improve access to care across Hampton Roads and address a shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists across the United States.

CHKD said the goal is to provide an environment that integrates access to mental health services into other routine services in order to de-stigmatize the identification and treatment of psychiatric conditions within the pediatric population.