Construction is officially underway on a new psychiatric hospital in Willmar that will provide specialized treatment to children and teens from across Minnesota who have severe mental illness and behavior disorders.
DHS Commissioner Tony Lourey today joined state lawmakers, mental health professionals and advocates, city and county officials and community leaders at the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Hospital (CABHH).
“This new hospital is an investment in the health and futures of children who are facing some extraordinary challenges,” said Commissioner Lourey. “It will provide greater safety for patients and staff; a more inviting, comfortable and therapeutic atmosphere; and more privacy and dignity to the children treated here.”
The $10 million hospital will replace an existing facility that is outdated and will provide capacity to serve more children. Because limited sightlines, hard-to-manage stairways and inadequate restroom facilities make it difficult to care for patients safely and appropriately, the current hospital must limit admissions to just a small number of patients at a time. This has resulted in waiting lists for admission and forced some children to seek treatment in other states.
The 18,000-square foot hospital will feature three wings and 16 private patient rooms, each with its own bathroom. A flexible design will make it possible to group patients in units that are appropriate to their ages and conditions. Two large outdoor courtyards will provide access to monitored play areas. Other features include a more open floorplan with ample natural light and safe personal retreat spaces for patients and comfortable lounges, where families can share time together.
The CABHH serves children ages 4 to 18 with complex mental illnesses and behavior disorders who cannot be treated in their home communities. In many cases, patients have multiple diagnoses that range from brain and behavior disorders to psychiatric and traumatic stress conditions. For most patients, other prior treatments have been ineffective.
“Getting the right care at the right time in the right place is crucial for children struggling with serious mental illness,” said Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar, a leading advocate on behalf of people with mental illness. “This new hospital will touch all of those bases, providing top-notch treatment and real hope for recovery to children from all over Minnesota.”
Construction on the new hospital, which is located a nine-acre parcel near the intersection of Highway 71 and Civic Center Drive, is expected to be complete in spring 2020.