Dayton, Ohio. 45404
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Over the next decade, the need for behavioral health services across the continuum is expected to increase significantly. Unless we do something different, the behavioral health crisis will continue to escalate, and we will see even more kids in crisis in our emergency department, crisis center, inpatient unit, treatment programs and therapy sessions.
Data shows a 163% increase in children hospitalized for mental health issues from 2020 to 2021 nationally; a 51% increase in emergency department visits for suicide attempts in adolescent girls from 2019-2021; a 2x increase in depression and anxiety symptoms in youth during the pandemic; 33% of high schoolers say they feel more unhappy or depressed than usual; 71% of parents report that the pandemic has taken a toll on their children’s mental health and 17/19% of high/middle school students made a plan to attempt suicide. The number of children with a psychiatric disorder outpaces the number of children with cancer, diabetes and HIV combined.
Based on this increasing demand, the Dayton region has a severe shortage of behavioral health services. We do not have enough capacity for behavioral health services to meet the needs of children and families in our community and that has resulted in more kids reaching crisis.
Based on the current needs and increasing demand, we do not have enough physical space dedicated to providing behavioral health services. Currently, we can serve only six kids in crisis at any time in our center. When we reach capacity, young people who come to the center in crisis sometimes must be sent to the emergency department or into a waiting room, where they may be at risk for self-harm.
Pediatric Mental Health services are the number one identified concern of parents in the 20 Counties served by Dayton Children’s. Expansion of these services and care is the number one request of pediatricians in the region as well. The numbers are so great that even though Dayton Children’s has taken steps to increase services throughout the continuum of care, it is not enough and the physical space is not big enough to meet the need. The crisis center is seeing record numbers and the need is increasing with no end in sight. That is why Dayton Children’s is embarking on a comprehensive behavioral health capital project to increase the number of children seen at the hospital across the continuum of behavioral health care. Through the behavioral health crisis center expansion project, we will double the number of patients we can serve within the crisis center at one time. Safety of patients and families will be a primary focus in the design and construction of the new crisis center. Every detail of the space must be considered to ensure that patients are unable to use doorknobs, furnishings, faucets and other items to harm themselves or staff. Specialized furnishings, fixtures and safety features of the new space add significantly to construction costs. Funding will be used to construct and finish the 13,040 square foot space needed to expand to meet the need.