CHKD plans new mental health inpatient beds


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters is working to build a new facility that would help address the growing need for mental health care for children and teens.

They have asked the state to approve 60 inpatient mental health beds.

Every night, three to five kids come into the emergency department at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters with some kind of mental health crisis.

Then they sometimes wait for days to be placed in treatment.

The problem has very real consequences in the community.

“We lost our daughter who died by suicide and at the time we were trying to help her we realized that capacity was an issue,” said Eric Peterson.

He and his wife now work tirelessly to help protect other children, and they are glad people are starting to notice this is a crisis.

“It’s about time.” he said.

CHKD’s CEO, Jim Dahling, told 10 On Your Side that he hears about the issues daily and the time to do more is now.

“The need just continues to ramp up, and I mean day after day my primary care doctors are calling and say ‘We’ve got to do more!'”

Dahling said the proposed facility would be built along Brambleton Avenue on CHKD’s current Norfolk campus.

Part of it will be office space and part inpatient mental health care at a cost of around $50 million.

“This is something for this community that we are going to pursue. We’re going to do it, and we’re going to try to help these families,” Dahling said

Recruiting is already underway for doctors, and while there’s not date set yet, it can’t come soon enough for parents like Peterson.

“We just have to have the right circumstances of care, people who are aware, and you can prevent a suicide death,” he said.

Mr. Dahling hopes to have approval from the state by this fall.

He said if that happens they could have a couple of beds ready in the current hospital within a year or two, with the new facility to follow.