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Dayton Children’s Hospital announces plans to build new mental health building

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine attended the announcement of the new mental health building.
Garrett Reese
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine attended the announcement of the new mental health building.

On Monday, Dayton Children’s Hospital announced plans to build a new freestanding mental health building. Officials say that the new building on Valley Street will help the hospital expand services offered to local children and teens suffering from mental health issues.

The new building will double the number of inpatient beds the hospital has available from 24 to 48. This will allow for families to stay with their children as they are being treated.

It will also allow for an expansion of the hospital’s specialized programs which officials said are critical for treating what they are calling a growing mental health crisis for Ohio children. In 2021 alone, hospital officials said over 1,000 children were admitted to Dayton Children’s for self-harm or depression.

That is six times higher than the next category of admissions.

“If you look at that statistic, that would say about one in five of those kids made a plan to kill themselves,” Dr. Kelly Blankenship, the associate chief medical officer at Dayton Children’s, said. “These aren’t kids from a different state. These are kids from Ohio. These are kids from Clark County. These are our kids.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine attended the announcement event. He said that this new building will be critical for treating the state’s children and teens.

“We need to treat mental health problems with kids and with adults like we treat any other medical problem,” he said.

Funding for construction of the building is part of the state’s Pediatric Behavioral Health Initiative. The initiative allocated $84 million in funding for children’s hospitals across the state.

The largest portion of this fund, $25 million, will be given to Dayton Children’s. The money will be used for the construction of the new building.

The new building is anticipated to open in the spring of 2025.

Garrett is a WYSO intern and graduate of University of Dayton. He spent time covering the Dayton area with WDTN Channel 2 News after the 2019 Memorial Day Tornado outbreak. It was around this time that he began listening to NPR and fell in love with radio-based journalism. Garrett graduated from UD in May of 2021 with his Bachelor’s in Communications with a focus in journalism and graduated in May of 2022 with his Master’s. While not working at WYSO, Garrett is an avid reader, loves to play video games, and hanging out with his friends.