CHKD breaks ground on new mental health hospital for children

Norfolk

NORFOLK, VA. (WAVY) – Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD) in Norfolk is breaking new ground in mental health care for children.

Tuesday morning, children, hospital staff, moms, dads and dignitaries turned shovels to signify the start of construction on a new $224 million mental health hospital.

The new facility will help children from preschool to high school age with conditions including depression, anxiety, eating disorders and autism. It will fill a critical need.

CHKD reports the number of therapy and mental health consultations in its practices rose 300% over three recent years.

Julian Garcia, a patient at CHKD, is excited about the hope this hospital brings. He suffers from depression brought on by a rare disease he fights every day. “I usually just scream into my pillow,” he said.

CHKD President & CEO Jim Dahling told WAVY.com, “There’s an enthusiasm here for this program that I’ve just never seen in our community.”

Dahling, along with Governor Ralph Northam, a pediatric neurologist, and other lawmakers and parents, celebrated what this means for children’s health.

Dahling said, “There are families out there that have been desperate to find some help somewhere.”

The Peterson Family of Norfolk lost their 15-year-old daughter, Sarah, to suicide after a battle with depression. “It was very difficult to know where to go; it was very difficult once she was receiving treatment to keep that going to get appropriate follow up,” said Michelle Peterson, Sarah’s mother.

The new 14 story hospital will have 60 beds with space for a parent to stay, outpatient services, indoor and outdoor recreation , music and art therapy, and training for the next generation of child psychiatrists.

“What’s going to happen here is going to change outcomes; it’s going to ensure that other families that are out there with a child who’s maybe suffering from mental illness they’re not going to have the outcome that we had. They’re not going to have to live everyday missing their daughter,” Eric Peterson said.

The new hospital is in the same complex as CHKD and Sentara Norfolk General. It is scheduled to open in 2022.

Take a virtual tour here.

You can make a donation to the hospital and its programs through the Lighting The Way Campaign.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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