Children’s Hospital and Medical Center breaks ground on mental health


OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – The capacity for treatment for young people with mental health challenges has not kept pace with the growing need for such services.

Led by the non-profit Mental Health Innovation Foundation, Children’s Hospital and Medical Center broke ground Friday to build a $110 million behavioral health and wellness center.

“This new facility will more than double with capacity we have in the community,” said Ken Stinson, the foundation’s president. “It will be able to treat up to 40 youngsters on any given day here in our new facility.”

The center will cover more than 107,000 square feet and will raise four stories high on a seven-acre lot. It will also feature a 10,000-square-foot assessment center to screen and stabilize children in crisis.

“The assessment center is really similar to an urgent care center for the mental side of healthcare,” said Chandra Chacon, president and CEO of Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. “It really is the place where families, no matter how worried you are, you can bring your child into a place designed for mental health care. Right now, a lot of these children are showing up to a medical emergency center at a hospital that isn’t really designed to take care of children in crisis.”

The center will also feature 14,000 square feet of space for general outpatient therapy and pediatric care, and 8,000 square feet of room to grow.

“(Having) the extra space allows us to be agile, and that’s extremely important, not only in healthcare but specifically in a mental healthcare space, because we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.”

Officials say the new facility will also keep children who need help here at home instead of being shipped outside the community for care.

“The new Behavorial Health and Wellness Center here on Children’s campus will be a place of healing for our youth who are in crisis, a place of comfort for their parents and families.”

The center will serve children between ages five and 18. Officials say the new center should be complete by early 2026.

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