When a child’s mental health suffers so much that their daily functioning is disrupted, but they don’t need 24-hour care, a new outpatient facility that opens today in Roseville hopes to be the answer.
Minnesota Children will open its second partial child and adolescent mental health program at the Minnesota Children’s Specialty Mental Health Clinic in Roseville on Monday.
“The opening of the Roseville Mental Health Program is the latest step in our long-term strategy to improve access to the full continuum of mental health services tailored to the unique needs of children and adolescents in our community,” said Dr. Gigi Chawla. Vice President and Chief of General Pediatrics at Minnesota Children’s. We have seen firsthand the growing demand for mental health care for young people in our hospitals and clinics. Our new location will help more families get the care they need, where they need it.”
Unlike an inpatient program for children who need immediate hospitalization for their own safety or the safety of others, this is a program where children and teens can come during the day and then go home at night, according to Jessica Brisboa, director of acute mental health services at Children’s Minnesota.
For example, if a child has too much anxiety to go to school, this would be a place they can go and work on their interpersonal skills with doctors, nurses, therapists, and staff. She said that putting them in a 24-hour confinement in the inpatient program wouldn’t help them in this case.
The opening comes about two months after Minnesota Kids He opened the first inpatient mental health unit at St Paul’s Hospital.
The program could provide ongoing intensive outpatient treatment for children and adolescents who leave the hospital, or it could be an option to prevent hospitalization.
The outpatient program usually lasts three to four weeks, Brisbaugh said. During that time, facilitators will work with school officials to keep up with assignments. There will also be the opportunity for transition days, where the child can go to school one day to practice his or her skills and then return to the program the next day for revision.
The program is open to students from all over the state, not just Roseville residents, according to Brisboa.
Most children are referred by other physicians or are moving out of an inpatient program, but because it is sometimes difficult to communicate with a therapist, the facility will offer parents in need the possibility to have their child evaluated for this or another program, she said.
Minnesota Children’s opened its first outpatient facility in July 2021 at its specialty center in Lakeville. The Lakeville site is smaller and can only accommodate eight children at a time. The need for this kind of facility was so great that people drove over an hour to get their kids there just for the day.
The Roseville site can currently serve eight children, ages 13 to 18, but Brisbaugh said that by summer, they hope to have enough staff to serve 24 students ages 6 to 18.
The facility annually expects to care for up to 350 children, making it “one of the few programs to provide this level of acute mental health care to children as young as 6 years old in Metro East,” according to the hospital.
Pediatric emergency rooms in Minnesota, St. Paul and Minneapolis saw about 1,800 young adults last year who showed signs of acute mental health needs, up 30% from the previous year, which was also an increase from the year before.
Minnesota Children’s CEO Dr. Mark Gorelick told attendees at the inpatient program’s grand opening last November that in 2021 suicidal ideation — or thoughts — had become one of the hospital system’s top five diagnoses, and the second leading cause of death for teens statewide.
Unlike the smaller Lakeville facility, the Roseville location provides a gym and assistance along with traditional speech therapy, Brisbaugh said.
“We find that what’s important is to involve children in so many different ways,” she said.
In addition to a gym, natural light, and soothing, sensory-friendly spaces, the facility offers individual pediatric therapy, family therapy, medication administration, and group therapies, such as music and art therapy.