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A Q&A on mental health support at Children’s Minnesota 

Last updated 12/2/2022. More up-to-date information will be added as we receive it. 

If your child is experiencing a mental health emergency

If your child is experiencing a mental health emergency or at imminent risk for harm, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department for a mental health evaluation. 

Kids around the country, including right here in Minnesota, are in an unprecedented mental health crisis that the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated. That’s why the kid experts at Children’s Minnesota opened an inpatient mental health unit in St. Paul and continue to expand our mental health services. 

About the inpatient mental health unit and how it works 

The unit recently opened using a phased approach, beginning with adolescent patients and will expand to younger patients thereafter. 

Once fully operational, this will be the first mental health unit in the east metro to serve kids under the age of 12. Our 22-bed unit will care for more than 1,000 children and adolescents, meeting the urgent mental health needs of the most vulnerable kids in Minnesota and the region. 

While we hope to help as many kids and teens as we can, our inpatient unit does have a capacity limit. We understand this may cause confusion and frustration for parents. Children’s Minnesota wants to address the questions you may have about this. 

How do patients get admitted to the inpatient mental health unit in St. Paul? 

If you are concerned that your child is at immediate risk of harming themselves or others or is experiencing a mental health crisis, bring your child to the nearest emergency department for a mental health evaluation and medical clearance examination. Depending on our inpatient unit’s capacity and bed availability, patients who need inpatient mental health care could be admitted to Children’s Minnesota’s mental health unit. The unit is designed to support: 

  • Children ages 6 to 18 years old. 
  • Children who can benefit from mental health services in a group setting.  
  • Children who need to be in the hospital and cannot be served in a less intensive setting. 

Please note that this program is not designed for the treatment of substance use disorder or chemical dependency concerns.  

What are other options for mental health support at Children’s Minnesota?  

At Children’s Minnesota, we believe all kids are one-of-a-kind. That’s why we don’t offer cookie-cutter solutions to mental health issues. We think each child’s care should be as unique as the child. That’s why we offer two distinct areas of care: outpatient mental health services and acute mental health service.  

  • Learn more about all of our acute and outpatient mental health services here. 
  • We also plan to open a second partial hospitalization program (PHP) in Roseville in 2023, in addition to our pre-existing PHP in Lakeville. 
    • What is a partial hospitalization program? Find out here. 

How can I get more information? 

  • If you have questions about whether your child may need mental health care, we encourage you to contact your primary care provider (PCP) for treatment recommendations. 
  • If you have immediate concerns for your child’s safety, please call 9-1-1. If your child is having thoughts of harming themselves or others, we encourage you to seek care in the closest Emergency Department. Children’s Minnesota Emergency Department locations are available here: Pediatric Emergency Room Locations | Children’s Minnesota (childrensmn.org) 
  • Health care providers looking to refer a patient or enquire about bed availability can contact Children’s Minnesota Physician Access at 866-755-2121. 

Children’s Minnesota supports the mental health of all kids 

Everyone deserves a healthy, happy childhood. That’s why we at Children’s Minnesota devote ourselves to caring for the physical and mental health needs of kids in our community. Children today desperately need access to the full spectrum of mental health care, no matter where they are on their journey, and we are proud to join other leaders in the region to deliver that care — including soon expanding our day treatment programs and inpatient mental health services. 

Alexandra Rothstein