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Dayton Children's Hospital begins construction on $110M behavioral health building

By Zack Frink, Elevate Dayton

Dayton Children’s Hospital has broken ground on its new $110 million behavioral health building, addressing the mental health crisis of this generation with a significant expansion in available space for patients by 2025, reports the Dayton Daily News.

The big picture: The new behavioral health building comes as a response to a critical need for pediatric mental health resources in the region.

  • The facility will receive $25 million from the American Rescue Plan and a $2 million donation from CareSource, marking a transformative investment in the hospital campus.

By the numbers: More than 7,000 children were treated for a behavioral health crisis at Dayton Children's last year.

  • In March 2023, a record 211 children waited for a bed to become available in the behavioral health unit, a 31% increase from the previous year.

Zoom in: Personal stories shared during the groundbreaking ceremony underscored the severity of mental health issues among children, with speakers highlighting the experiences of patients and students helped through Kettering Fairmont High School’s Hope Squad.

What we're hearing: Dr. Kelly Blankenship, Dayton Children's associate chief medical officer for behavioral health, revealed that the number one reason for child admissions to the hospital is suicidal ideation.

  • The lack of community-based outpatient services and intensive therapy is so severe that one in 12 patients will return within 30 days for re-admission.

Why it matters: The new facility will help close gaps in pediatric mental health care, providing much-needed resources and support for children in the region.

  • This commitment to mental health care aligns with the Ohio governor's push for a proposed state budget that includes funds for mental health services.

What's next: Construction and design teams Danis Construction, Cannon Design/FKP, and Champlin Architecture are set to build the new behavioral health hospital, which is expected to double the available space for patients by 2025.

This article originally appeared on Elevate Dayton and republished through its partnership with the Dayton Weekly News.

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