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*Norfolk, VA: $50M psychiatric center proposed for treating mentally ill children

Mar 15, 2018, Norfolk, Virginian—Pilot: CHKD seeks state approval for a $50 million mental health facility https://pilotonline.com/news/local/health/article_fde8f29a-2603-11e8-bdb0-d3ff0c3aa36d.html In a move he described as tectonic, the president of Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters said the health system will expand its mental-health footprint in the community with a proposal for a $50 million psychiatric center. The hospital must get state approval before moving forward, but president and CEO Jim Dahling said CHKD is committed to embracing what its community surveys have shown to be the No. 1 health concern: mental health services for children. Three to five children a day arrive in the hospital’s emergency room in need of a mental health evaluation, a number that has increased by 40 percent during the past four years, according to CHKD. … The hospital submitted paperwork to the Virginia Department of Health on March 1 to build a new medical tower, to be located just off Brambleton Avenue, on the same medical campus as CHKD, Eastern Virginia Medical School and Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. The tower would have three floors for mental health “day treatment” programs and 48 inpatient beds. Two more floors would be for other medical services, and four underground levels would be for parking. The expanded mental health program would employ about 250 health care providers and support staff, and treat children 2 to 18 years of age. … “Everyone from parents to social workers to government agencies to school systems are telling us that mental health services for children are the No. 1 priority,” Dahling said in an interview Tuesday. National statistics are showing that 1-in-5 children need mental health services. “The tipping point was the frequency of children coming into the ER in crisis,” Dahling said. “Parents are saying, ‘Please help.’ There are simply not enough localities to place them. They stay in the ER sometimes for a day. You roll all of that together, and we cannot walk away.” … Currently, the system receives 15 to 20 mental health referrals a day from primary and specialty care providers. One day in February, 153 children were on the waiting list, with waits as long as six weeks. … One pediatrician made the observation that diagnoses were shifting from typical ear infections to attention deficits, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorders: “I am stymied here and have little to no assistance. It is like fighting a battle and I am not armed.” In 2014, the health system assigned six licensed clinical social workers to do mental health assessments and interventions. The first year, the system’s mental health team did 3,500 visits. Since then the number of mental health therapists assigned to that duty has grown to 25 and they are on track for 18,000 visits at nine different CHKD locations this year. That was the first step in bolstering mental health services, along with getting mental health training for pediatricians. …