Children’s Minnesota to open its first inpatient mental health unit

(ABC 6 News) – Children’s Minnesota announced they will open its first inpatient mental health unit at its St. Paul hospital.

The health system says they will be using a phased approach beginning with adolescent patients and expanding to younger patients thereafter.

The unit is expected to care for more than 1,000 children and adolescents annually, serving the urgent mental health needs of the most vulnerable kids in Minnesota and the region.

Once fully operational, the inpatient unit will be able to serve kids as young as 6 years old, and will be one of few in the state to admit kids with more complex medical conditions. It is also one of few such facilities in the state and country to allow a parent or guardian to stay overnight with their child. 

The new inpatient mental health until will include:

  • 22 large private rooms that will allow a parent to stay overnight with their child. 
  • Design focused on natural light, calming sensory-friendly spaces, and soon to include safe access to the outdoors. 
  • A multi-disciplinary care team, including psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, nurses, and expressive arts therapists will provide individualized treatment tailored to meet each child’s needs. 

Dr. Marc Gorelick, president and CEO of Children’s Minnesota, said 1,800 children showed up to Children’s Minnesota emergency departments suffering from mental health crises last year, a 30% increase from the year before.

Gorelick said the unit is part of the hospital system’s plan to reimagine mental health care for children.

“As children face an unprecedented mental health crisis that we see firsthand every day in our hospitals, now more than ever, it is imperative that we invest in mental health care as deliberately as we invest in other medical treatments. Children today desperately need access to the full spectrum of mental health care, no matter where they are on their journey.” 

There will be community spaces for art therapy, private consult rooms, seclusion suites and outdoor areas for children to play.

The new inpatient mental health unit is scheduled to open November 29.