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Children’s Minnesota opens Roseville outpatient mental health facility for kids and teens – Twin Cities

When a child’s mental health is suffering so much that their day-to-day functioning is disrupted, but they don’t require 24-hour care, a new outpatient facility opening today in Roseville hopes to be the answer.

Children’s Minnesota will open its second mental health partial hospitalization program for children and teenagers at the Children’s Minnesota Mental Health Specialty Clinic in Roseville on Monday.

“The opening of our Roseville mental health program is the latest step in our long-term strategy of improving access for the full continuum of mental health services tailored to the unique needs of kids and adolescents in our community,” said Dr. Gigi Chawla, vice president and chief of general pediatrics at Children’s Minnesota. “We’ve seen firsthand the rising demand for mental health care for youth 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 urgent immediate hospitalization for their safety or the safety of others, this is a program where children and teenagers can come during the day and then go home at night, according to Jessica Brisbois, manager of acute mental health services at Children’s Minnesota.

For instance, if a child is experiencing anxiety so great they can’t attend school, this would be a place they could go and work on coping skills with doctors, nurses, therapists and staff. Placing them in a 24-hour hold at the inpatient program would not help them in this instance, she said.

The opening comes about two months after Children’s Minnesota opened its first inpatient mental health unit at its St. Paul hospital.

The program can provide continued intensive outpatient therapy for kids and teens who leave the hospital, or can be an option to prevent hospitalization.

The outpatient program lasts usually three to four weeks, Brisbois said. During that time, the facilitators will work with school officials on keeping up with assignments. There will also be the opportunity for transition days, where a child can go to school one day to practice his or her skills and then come back to the program the next day to review.

The program is open to students from around the state, not just residents of Roseville, according to Brisbois.

Most children are referred by other doctors or are transitioning from an inpatient program, but because sometimes it’s difficult to get in with a therapist, the facility will offer parents in need a possibility to have their child assessed for that program or another one, she said.

Children’s Minnesota opened its first outpatient facility in July 2021 at its Specialty Center in Lakeville. The Lakeville location is smaller and only has room for eight children at a time. The need has been so great for this type of facility that people have driven more than an hour to bring their child there just for the day.

The Roseville location currently can serve eight children, ages 13 to 18, but Brisbois said that by summer, they hope to have enough staff to serve 24 students from 6 to 18.

Annually, the facility expects to care for as many as 350 children, making it “one of the few programs providing this level of acute mental health care to children as young as 6 years old in the east metro,” according to the hospital.

The Children’s Minnesota St. Paul and Minneapolis emergency rooms saw some 1,800 youth last year who showed signs of acute mental health needs, a 30% increase from the year before, which was also an increase compared to the year before that.

Dr. Marc Gorelick, chief executive officer of Children’s Minnesota, told attendees at the grand opening of the inpatient program last November that in 2021 suicidal ideation — or thoughts — became one of the hospital system’s top five diagnoses, and the second leading cause of death for teenagers statewide.

Unlike the smaller Lakeville facility, the Roseville location offers a gym and help besides traditional talk therapy, Brisbois said.

“We find what’s important is engaging kids in a lot of different ways,” she said.

In addition to the gym, natural light, and calming, sensory-friendly spaces, the facility offers children individual therapy, family therapy, medication management, and group therapies, such as music and art therapy.

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