Children's Hospital Orange County celebrates completion of Mental Health Inpatient Center

An image shows a part of the new Mental Health Inpatient Center at Children's Hospital Orange County. (CHOC)

Children's Hospital Orange County celebrated the completion of its Mental Health Impatient Center that will help children ages 3 to 17.

The facility fills a gap in the system that did not provide children younger than 12 with inpatient services in the county, according to the hospital.

The center will open in April. The 12,000-foot, 18-bed facility will also be the only one in the county to treat patients younger than 12 and offer all private rooms with the option for parents to stay overnight.

It includes two sensory rooms: one that is sensory rich and another that is low stimulation to help children learn or manage strong emotions and it can calm them. There will also be a 3,600-square foot outdoor play area with sensory activities and a basketball court.

The center will serve patients between 3 and 17 years old, with specialty programming for children 12 and younger. All patients will be part of a therapeutic program seven days a week.

In addition, children will have access to medical specialists five to seven days a week if their mental health condition may have an underlying health issue.

One in five children experience a diagnosable mental health condition during their childhood, with about 150,000 in Orange County alone, according to CHOC.

The total cost to build the center, which is located on the third floor of the hospital's research building, came out to $13.2 million. Most of the funding came from individual contributions and government funding and grants.

In addition to that money, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved a funding agreement of $1.25 million in funds for services at the new wing through June 2020.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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