Even before the pandemic, there was a high demand for mental health services in our community, but not enough providers or funding. In fact, Genesee County had been without an inpatient adolescent behavioral health unit since 2005. After the isolation of the pandemic, mental health issues grew in our kids, creating difficulties both mentally and emotionally.
It is important for families to have compassionate support without the added stress of traveling outside the County for that help. Recognizing that need, Hurley Children’s Hospital made adolescent behavioral health a top priority.
“As an added advantage, this unit supports the care of patients who have needs for ongoing, co-existing medical issues, in addition to psychiatric treatment.”
Binny Patel, Director of Behavioral Medicine.
Funds were secured through a bond to open an 11,000 square foot, 14-bed Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit serving patients 12 to 17 years old. Opened last year, the new unit provides care for a variety of psychiatric issues including mood, anxiety and psychosis. A multidisciplinary team led by a child psychiatrist and supported by nursing, social work and activity therapy provides essential care and psychology services. This level of personalized care plans is already restoring mental stability and helping adolescents achieve healthier lifestyles.
Hurley experts provide compassionate support during stressful times and help children cope more effectively with life issues, mental health distress, instability and depression. “As an added advantage, this unit supports the care of patients who have needs for ongoing, co-existing medical issues, in addition to the need for psychiatric treatment,” says Binny Patel, Director of Behavioral Medicine. “These hard-to-place adolescents may have otherwise had to remain on a medical floor where psychiatric services are not available.” Hurley is proud to have a skilled workforce in its Pediatric Emergency Department of social workers and physicians who help guide patients to the right level of care.
To ensure the best care with minimal disruption of a child’s routine, Hurley has partnered with many resources. With the average length of stay on the unit being seven days, Hurley has partnered with Genesee Intermediate School District to provide a teacher so kids don’t fall behind in their studies while getting treatment. Flint Institute of Music provides music therapy to adolescent patients and Genesee Health Systems has a liaison who provides a link to aftercare so continuing treatment is not only seamless, but also familiar. Partnership Horizon Health and Michigan State University’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship contribute to the high level of patient care.
The 2022 Hurley Benefit Ball raised money to supply patients with clothing and personal hygiene items, help with medication costs and transportation. These donations are in addition to the $550,000 Panda Express donated to create the Panda Cares Center of Hope – two rooms in the unit, a Noisy Activity Room and Quiet Activity Room. A $350,000 grant from The Roots & Wings Foundation helped purchase furniture and equipment to make patients comfortable.
“Having an inpatient adolescent behavioral health unit locally is such a benefit to a family’s journey to mental health,” adds Patel. “It lowers the costs of care and families no longer have to drive far away to connect with their children or to bring them items they might need to assist in their recovery.”
At Hurley Children’s Hospital, you will find some of the state’s best pediatric specialists and surgeons. This new unit brings inpatient behavioral health services to families, keeping them close during a stressful time of recovery.
Hurley wants you to know that you don’t have to cope with mental health concerns alone. For more information, visit hurleymc.com/services/behavioral-health/. If you are in crisis or concerned about someone you know, you can text the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1.800.273.8255.