NORFOLK — Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD) is sparing no expense when it comes to the new $224 million mental health hospital and outpatient center in Norfolk.
During a press event on Wednesday, June 30, hospital officials gave a tour of the 14-story facility located on Gresham Drive. The building is still under construction and is scheduled to be completed by August of 2022.
The new hospital will feature 60 inpatient rooms designed with the latest best practices in mind. For instance each room will have enough space for a parent to stay with their child as well as rooms and hallways that can be sectioned off to help deescalate situations in which a child becomes a danger to themselves or others.
Having a mental health facility within the CHKD network will make it easier for medical professionals to ensure their patients get the appropriate care without having to send them to another treatment facility.
“We are going to be different because we are going to be providing medical and psychiatric care in a family focused environment,” said Dr. Carl Petersen, chief of psychiatry and mental health services at CHKD.
Once it is up and running, CHKD expects to be able to treat 2,500 inpatients and more than 40,000 outpatient annually. Having a facility that can help that many children cannot come at a better time as experts in the mental health fields are reporting higher demand for treatments since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While the pandemic has certainly exacerbated some children’s mental health problems, the pediatric mental health crisis has been building for years,” said Petersen “This new facility has been designed to offer the best, evidence-based treatment in a safe and uplifting environment.”
The inpatient facility will also feature rooms dedicated to music and art therapy as well as a secure rooftop area where patients can get fresh air and exercise.
Along with the inpatient care capabilities the building will also be house primary care pediatric offices and a sports medicine program. Another aspect of mental healthcare the building will tackle is the training of mental health professionals through fellowships and other educational programs.
In 2018, CHKD had one full-time child and adolescent psychiatrist who was part of a 30-member mental health team. That number has grown to 10 psychiatrists on a team of nearly 80, which also includes nurse practitioners, psychologists, therapists and medical social workers. When the hospital opens CHKD projects to have a total of 400 clinicians and staff to run the day to day operations.
To help pay for the facility, CHKD launched a public fundraising campaign with a goal of raising $60 million. Through huge donations from philanthropists, CHKD has already managed to raise $50 million.
“For too long, children with mental health concerns have been waiting in their homes, their schools and our emergency rooms for treatment,” says Jim Dahling, president and CEO of CHKD Health System. “This crisis has been building for years, and the recent pandemic has made the need even more profound.”