North metro psychiatric hospital adds new wing to serve an extra 1,000 kids, teens, young adults per year

North metro psychiatric hospital adds new wing to serve an extra 1,000 kids, teens, young adults per year

North metro psychiatric hospital adds new wing to serve an extra 1,000 kids, teens, young adults per year

A psychiatric hospital in the north metro is celebrating a 30,000-square-foot expansion with 30 new inpatient mental health beds available for children, teens and young adults.

According to PrairieCare, the new wing at its Brooklyn Park hospital will be able to serve a thousand teens and young adults every year.

“It took a lot of people and a lot of actions to make today possible,” said PrairieCare CEO Todd Archbold.

PrairieCare is based in Minnesota with nine locations across the Twin Cities metro area, Mankato and Rochester.

The expansion in Brooklyn Park includes single and double rooms for patients, along with a ‘zen den,’ sensory rooms, sports courts and classrooms.

PrairieCare called it the ‘largest expansion of mental health beds for adolescents and young adults in Minnesota in decades.’

“We have children who are boarding in the emergency room, so adding beds means they’ll have somewhere to go,” said Sue Abderholden, executive director of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Minnesota.

Abderholden said Minnesota, like many states across the country, is in a ‘state of crisis’ due to a shortage of resources for young people in need of serious mental health care.

“Our children’s mental health system in particular is incredibly strained and people cannot access care when they need it,” Abderholden said. “There’s not enough of anything. I have families calling my office who are saying, ‘I can’t even get my child into a therapist for three months, four months, five months.’ I have parents calling whose kids are in the emergency room boarding who need residential treatment and the waiting time is six months. It’s a huge tragedy, honestly.”

According to the 2022 Minnesota Student Survey, which is administered through a partnership of multiple state agencies, 14-15% of 8th, 9th and 11th graders in Minnesota have ‘seriously considered suicide’ in the last year.

“I would say our system was fragile and barely meeting the needs before the pandemic and now we have increased needs,” Abderholden said. “If you actually go back to President Eisenhower’s report, he said every hospital should have psychiatric units and that is absolutely not true in the state of Minnesota, especially when it comes to children.”

She believes the expansion at PrairieCare will help by increasing the overall capacity of inpatient mental health beds.

“Today’s ribbon cutting represents a great step in the right direction,” added Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services Jodi Harpstead.

Meanwhile, another hospital system in the metro is consolidating its inpatient services for children and adolescents from two hospitals down to one.

Allina Health confirms the inpatient unit at United Hospital in St. Paul will move to Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis.

RELATED: Allina to move mental health care for children, teens out of United Hospital

The unit at United Hospital unit been closed for updates and construction and will reopen as an adult inpatient unit.

A spokesperson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, “Abbott Northwestern Hospital has the capacity for child and adolescent mental health inpatients, and Allina Health will preserve the total bed count for our child/adolescent population, now on one campus.”