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

The pediatric crisis stabilization unit at ETCH will be the first of its kind in Tennessee and will open in early 2022.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The McNabb Center celebrated the opening of a new crisis stabilization unit that will serve adults in Hamblen County.

The center held a ribbon cutting on Friday for a new 15-bed unit that will offer around-the-clock behavioral health crisis care seven days a week at 320 West 3rd North Street in Morristown. The center will serve adults 18 and older in Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson and Union counties. 

Earlier this week, the McNabb Center was also awarded a grant to open another crisis stabilization unit specifically for children at East Tennessee Children's Hospital, according to a press release.

Officials said that the $5 million grant by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) goes towards creating a crisis continuum of care for children including the opening of a crisis stabilization unit (CSU) for youth at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. 

The pediatric CSU will be the first of its kind in Tennessee and will open in early 2022, officials said. The McNabb Center has partnered with Children’s Hospital to offer the program. 

A press release mentioned that children who enter the CSU will receive behavioral health treatment including therapy, medication, and other services to help them work through their crisis. Clinicians will determine how long a child can stay in the CSU based upon their needs. Once a child is stabilized, they may receive intensive community-based treatment through the McNabb Center. 

The CSU is one piece of a comprehensive continuum of care to address the increasing mental health crisis in children and teens in East Tennessee, officials said.

“Children’s Hospital is honored to partner with the mental health experts at the McNabb Center to continue working to improve the well-being of East Tennessee’s children,” said Matt Schaefer, Children’s Hospital president and CEO. Our vision is to lead the way to healthy children which must include leading the way to improved mental and behavioral health care and access.  Unfortunately, visits to our Emergency Department for depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation have escalated to alarming proportions, with behavioral health visits growing by more than 60% since 2020 to more than 1,500 annual visits. At the same time, there are too few pediatric mental health providers to meet the growing need; this investment in a crisis continuum of care looks to reverse these trends.  We are looking forward to being part of a comprehensive model of care that will put patients on a pathway to being the best and healthiest version of themselves.”

Officials said the goal of the CSU is to provide a safe place to address the needs of children facing a mental health crisis while diverting the child from psychiatric hospitalization. Families will be able to access CSU services through the emergency department or through a Mobile Crisis Unit.

The McNabb Center runs an adult-focused CSU in Knoxville and will open an adult CSU in Morristown on October 15. The McNabb Center also operates Mobile Crisis Units for children and adults.