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.

Inpatient mental health program

To expand mental health services for kids, Children’s Minnesota has opened a new inpatient program at the St. Paul hospital. It is designed to serve urgent mental health needs for kids as young as 6 years old and up to 18 years old and still in high school.

The specially-designed unit is one of only a handful in the country to allow a parent or guardian to stay overnight with their child and one of only a few in Minnesota with the ability to admit kids with more complex medical conditions.

Take a virtual tour of the unit


Specialized care in a compassionate environment

The new unit provides a healing, compassionate environment, specifically designed for kids and youth, and offers:

  • Design focused on natural light and calming sensory-friendly spaces
  • 22 large private rooms that allow a parent or guardian to stay overnight with their child
  • Care for kids as young as 6 years old and up to 18 years old and still in high school

Community expectations frequently asked questions (FAQ)

We ask that all patients and visitors understand and respect the community’s expectations to ensure that everyone in the inpatient mental health unit has a safe environment. Please read our full mental health unit welcome packet here.

Cell phones, laptops and other electronic devices are not allowed in the unit in order to protect the privacy of all patients. Visitor and patient devices will be stored safely for you while on the unit.

Parents/legal guardians may visit at any time. One parent/legal guardian can stay overnight. Parents/legal guardians need to sign a visitor contract and follow the policy of items allowed on the unit and must stay in the child’s room during the entire visit.

Other visitors may visit during scheduled visiting hours. Standard visiting hours are daily from Noon-1 p.m. and 5-7 p.m.

  • Visitors include any caregiver or extended family member (18+). Siblings under 18-years-old cannot visit unless approved by your treatment team. Please arrange childcare for other children
  • Any visitor must be approved by a parent/legal guardian and treatment team
  • Only three visitors per patient are allowed on the unit at any time (including a parent/legal guardian rooming-in)
  • Standard visitation rules and hours may be limited by the hospital without notice

We understand that many families have other obligations such as work or other children that they need to care for. If you are unable to be present during mealtimes, please let someone from your child’s treatment team know and we will work with you on a plan to ensure that your child gets the necessary components of their treatment as well as quality time with you.

We cannot allow any visitors to watch group sessions or any other treatment due to privacy. We want to create a safe and engaging atmosphere for all patients and having an audience for group sessions compromises that. Instead, we encourage you to ask your child to share with you what they are learning and what activities they are doing in group sessions. This sends a message to your child that you care about what they are learning and that it is important. Having them share with you may also help them to better understand and retain the information.

Someone will check on your child around-the-clock. We check on our patients every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day, even if a guardian is in the room. These regular check-ups are conducted to ensure the safety and well-being of all patients. 

The Legal Guardian Rooming-in Agreement is important to keep the unit safe. Every part of this agreement has been determined by state or regulatory policies as well as organizational policies and procedures. As a parent/legal guardian rooming-in, you will be required to sign and follow the expectations in the agreement in order to stay with your child. If you decline to sign, we will ask you to leave. If at any point during your stay the care team determines this agreement is not being followed, we will ask you to leave the facility. The treatment team will determine when and if return is appropriate. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about the agreement. 

Items you may bring into the unit are limited. Many common items can be a risk to the safety of your child, other children and staff. Refer to your welcome packet for the full list of items.

We do our best to balance having a safe and comfortable atmosphere for all of our patients and families. In an acute crisis stabilization setting, there are many items that have too much potential risk to the safety of your child, other children and staff. We respect that you know your child’s needs and comfort items the best, and we encourage you to share that information with us. We will do our very best to develop alternative plans that still meet our safety requirements and protocols.

Sometimes patients escalate, and we are prepared. If your child begins to struggle in ways that may harm themselves or others, our team is highly trained to keep them safe. We may ask you to step away, we may need to give them medicine quickly, or we may need to place them in a safe chair or room. Rest assured we are doing everything for their wellbeing. Please see our welcome packet for more information.

Care team and tailored treatment

The inpatient mental health program offers a multi-disciplinary care team. The entire team is focused on individualized treatment that’s tailored to meet each child’s needs and includes:

  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Licensed clinical social workers
  • Nurses
  • Occupational therapists
  • Child life therapists
  • Mental Health Specialists
  • Music therapists

Video: Learn more about the inpatient mental health unit

Photo gallery: View the mental health unit

Learn more about mental health at Children’s Minnesota

Find out about the range of mental health services we offer to kids and families.