McNabb Center earns $5 million grant

The McNabb Center was awarded a $5 million grant by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency to create a crisis continuum of care for children including the opening of a crisis stabilization unit for youth at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.

This pediatric CSU will be the first of its kind in Tennessee and will open in early 2022.

“The McNabb Center continually seeks ways to support Tennessee families. This CSU will help strengthen families who are dealing with a crisis situation and provide the best opportunity to keep those families together,” said Jerry Vagnier, McNabb Center CEO. “Helping our region’s children address acute mental health challenges, and providing them with extended care following their moment of crisis, will give families the support they need as they navigate these challenges.”

The McNabb Center has partnered with Children’s Hospital to offer this program. 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.

“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.”

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 has an extensive history operating crisis services in the Knoxville area. It runs an adult-focused CSU in Knoxville and will open an adult CSU in Morristown on October 15, 2021. In addition, the McNabb Center operates Mobile Crisis Units for children and adults.

“Our motto for our statewide network of crisis services is ‘right measurement, right place, right time.’ Having this developmentally appropriate alternative to inpatient hospitalization for children and youth combined with the life-changing interventions offered by the amazing staff of the McNabb Center will have a positive impact for generations to come,” said Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW, of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services.

“Investing in the behavioral and mental health needs of our children is vital,” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “As these children receive the necessary supports through this program, they will be set up for lifelong success, health and wellbeing as they grow into adulthood.”

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