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McNabb Center gets $1.1 million for more children's mental health services

The center said it will create three response teams for children experiencing mental health crises at local schools, detention centers and the children's hospital.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The McNabb Center said it received a $1.1 million grant from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) to create three Crisis Response Teams for children experiencing mental health crises.

“We want to change the way families experience a crisis and build a system that makes it easier to access services and alleviate barriers,” said Mary Katsikas, McNabb Center clinical vice president. “It is important that, in a time of crisis, the family has the resources they need to focus on their child.”

These Crisis Response Teams will partner with schools, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and detention centers to improve outcomes from a child’s mental health crisis, according to a release.

The McNabb Center said the children's hospital team will provide additional psychiatric support as well as assessment and discharge planning to help divert children from hospitalization when appropriate. 

Through the detention centers, the team will assist in addressing crisis situation for children residing there and provide psychiatric evaluation and medication management, according to a release.

The school-based team will help with crisis intervention and assist the school in engaging mobile crisis units when necessary, according to the McNabb Center. It will also be specially trained to help students and staff process and debrief following school and community crisis situations.

The McNabb Center said its proposal was one of 10 across the state selected to receive funding through TDMHSAS.

“Tennessee is a state blessed with a wide variety of resources and challenges when it comes to children’s mental health. That’s why we took a bottom-up approach to this funding opportunity to empower the amazing mental health providers we work with to design approaches to meet the biggest needs that they see in the communities they serve,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW. “We are so grateful to Governor Bill Lee for his vision in budgeting this funding and to the members of the General Assembly for their investment in the mental health of our state’s most precious resource.”

The McNabb Center said it has received several grants to expand its children and youth continuum of care and address the needs of children in crisis. 

In November 2021, it opened a Family Walk-In Center on Merchants Center Blvd., where children experiencing a mental health crisis can be assessed and receive intensive treatment with the goal of avoiding psychiatric hospitalization.

RELATED: McNabb Center cuts ribbon on crisis stabilization unit in Hamblen Co.; receives grant for new pediatric unit at ETCH

The McNabb Center said it will open a Children’s Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in the coming months. Children needing inpatient behavioral health treatment will receive therapy, medication and other services to work through their crisis.

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