Future Mental Health Building

CHKD's Mental Health Initiative

(757) 668-7525

In early 2018, CHKD petitioned the commonwealth of Virginia for permission to develop a 60-bed inpatient psychiatric hospital, part of CHKD's commitment to pediatric mental health in the region.  

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On Behalf of Today's Children

From early recognition to psycho-education to intervention to treatment, CHKD has identified pediatric mental health as the community's top priority.

The statistics speak volumes. The is an immediate and pressing demand for pediatric mental health resources.

  • 1 in 5 children in the United State have a diagnosable mental health condition.
  • Fewer than 25 percent of youth in need of mental health services receive treatment.
  • 50 percent of adult psychiatric disorders onset before the age of 14. Regionally, the most common reason for inpatient admission for patients ages 10 to 17 is psychiatric.
  • Between 3 and 5 children are evaluated in the CHKD Emergency Department for psychiatric issues each day.
  • Visits to the CHKD Emergency Department for anxiety, mood and other mental health disorders increased 22 percent from 2009 to 2013.
  • Pediatric patients admitted to children's hospitals across the nation for suicidal thoughts or self-harm have more than doubled in the past decade. 

It's a Different World

Today's children are facing challenges other generations did not. As a society, we are just beginning to understand how to effectively intervene with the challenges face by our youth. At CHKD, we recognize that early detection of mental health vulnerabilities can help improve mental health outcomes for a child.

CHKD's response to our nation's mental health crisis began in 2014 as it developed an outpatient mental health program. The program began with a staff including a child psychiatrist, a psychiatric nurse practitioner and six licensed clinical social workers working at one location. Today, CHKD has increased its number of mental health providers from eight to 31 and sees pediatric mental health patients at nine locations. 

How We Move Forward

CHKD saw 3,425 mental health-related visits to its health system in fiscal year 2015. In fiscal year 2017 the number had jumped to 11,439. The projected number for fiscal year 2018 is 18,260.

CHKD's mental health care continuum today offers services at the pediatric primary care level through outpatient mental health therapy services, with same-day services and with emergency department crisis intervention.

At present, CHKD is developing a medical-psychiatric unit for patients who require acute medical and psychiatric resources and support.

But CHKD has also identified opportunity for more growth in an area that is already growing. CHKD has identified three areas of future growth to include:

  • School-based early childhood theraputic skill-building for teachers and other school personnel.
  • Day treatment services to support patients with primary mental health diagnoses, to include eating disorders.
  • Inpatient beds dedicated to patients with primary mental health diagnoses. 


(757) 668-7525