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East Tennessee Children's Hospital will have a new crisis unit for mental health patients

Leaders at ETCH and the Mcnabb center noticed many patients needing mental health care.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Childhelp Center says our neighbors need more mental health services.

Those services are here now. This week, the McNabb Center opened a crisis stabilization unit at East Tennessee Children's Hospital.

Leaders at ETCH and the McNabb Center noticed many patients needing mental health care. 

When children come to East Tennessee Children's Hospital for mental health services, some spends hours and even days waiting to be seen. 

“Some kids are sitting in there for three to four days,” said Eddie Smith. 

Smith at the Childhelp Center sees why more mental services for children are necessary every day. 

“We've had children that have come to our center that have presented as suicidal, and we've had to get them into children's hospital. So having the McNabb Center to do that triage so that they can get those kids the right help, you know, make sure they get to the right agency that can best care for them is going to be critically important.”

Mona Blanton-Kitts, CEO of the McNabb Center, said with the help of a federal five-million-dollar grant from the substance abuse and mental health services agency, they were able to fund the project for the crisis stabilization unit.

"We are seeing an increase in mental health issues for children and crises. Those numbers have increased by 25% with a pandemic,” said Blanton-Kitts.

Blanton-Kitts says the crisis stabilization unit allows kids in crisis to come and stay for up to eight days or more if needed. 

“So a concise term intervention to help get them right back into the community into their home to their families, where they belong."

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