In the midst of a national mental health crisis—one that includes more than a third of young adults with mental illness and nearly a third of Minnesota students struggling with long-term mental health issues—access to care has never been more urgent. Yet there are currently less than 200 psychiatric hospital beds for youth and 590 adult beds in Minnesota (not including state-run facilities), a state with 5.7 million residents. PrairieCare, one of the nation’s most innovative, fastest-growing psychiatric health systems, is responding to this desperate situation by adding 30 inpatient psychiatric beds, the largest expansion of mental health beds for adolescents and young adults in Minnesota in decades, with a grand opening celebration scheduled for this week.
PrairieCare currently serves over 20,000 patients annually across its continuum of services and is now poised to serve another 1,000 teens and young adults each year who have mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, trauma, and mood disorders. The 30,000-foot expansion is part of PrairieCare’s Brooklyn Park inpatient hospital.
A celebratory event is planned for Wednesday, September 20th that includes state and local dignitaries, mental health professionals, hospital leaders, NAMI Minnesota, and other health care organizations and providers.
“As mental health care leaders in this region, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to address this crisis and help more families find hope and healing,” said Todd Archbold, PrairieCare CEO. “Too many young people are stuck boarding in emergency departments for days or even weeks, waiting for a mental health treatment option that isn’t there. Our expansion will help alleviate this frustration for families and get them the immediate care they deserve.”
The lack of psychiatric inpatient beds for Minnesota youth is due to a myriad of issues including a lack of funding, a workforce shortage, and a statewide moratorium on the construction or expansion of hospital beds. Fortunately, the Minnesota Legislature authorized PrairieCare’s expansion as part of the Omnibus Health and Human Services Finance Bill in 2021, and then in 2022 passed sweeping legislation that temporarily waived the hospital bed moratorium process for hospitals to add both mental health and substance use disorder beds. Still, PrairieCare and Children’s Minnesota are the only two systems that are adding youth hospital capacity at this time.
The new expansion is part of PrairieCare’s comprehensive plan to address the mental health crisis, including other innovative efforts like the AID Team that conducts free mental health screenings and assessments, the Psychiatric Assistance Line (PAL) for healthcare providers to get free consultations and referrals for their patients, and the Mental Health Collaboration Hub that helps connect youth boarding in hospitals and emergency departments to mental health treatment.
The expansion was built by Ryan Companies and took less than 12 months to complete. In addition to the grand opening celebration, PrairieCare is hosting a community showcase with other providers, an open house, and a hiring event for qualified health care professionals and those looking to start their purpose-driven career. Click here for more information about joining the PrairieCare team or visit prairie-care.com.