Maxwell Family announces $3 million challenge gift to fund new mental health unit at Dell Children’s


Kate Peoples, Nyle Maxwell and Dr. Sonia KrishnaDonations matched to fund new mental health unit for children and teens

On Monday, January 30, Nyle and Nancy Maxwell and their family announced a $3 million challenge gift to Seton’s Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas to help provide the full spectrum of mental health care for children and teens.

The Maxwell family’s generous challenge gift means donations from the community will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $3 million.

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Dell Children’s and Seton are part of part of Ascension, the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system.

The Maxwells hope their donation can help reduce the stigma associated with mental health needs.

“It breaks my heart, but right now children in Central Texas don’t have a dedicated pediatric-focused inpatient facility where they can immediately go if they suffer a mental health crisis or, better yet, before a crisis,” Nyle Maxwell said. “Many good minds are coming together to solve this problem and Dell Children’s is taking the lead.”

Grace Grego Maxwell Mental Health Unit at Dell Children’s, named after Nyle Maxwell’s mother, will provide comprehensive mental health services. Child and adolescent psychiatrists will treat conditions like eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Once finished, it will include:

  • An inpatient unit with 24 beds
  • Texas Child Study Center, an outpatient clinic of Dell Children’s, in partnership with The University of Texas at Austin
  • An intensive outpatient program

Sonia Krishna, MD, Dell Children’s child and adolescent psychiatrist, said the unit is an important resource to treat patients comprehensively.

“This new model for coordinated care will allow us to diagnose and treat children with mental health needs before, during and after a crisis,” Krishna said. “Dell Children’s will soon have more extensive integrated resources than ever before to treat the minds and bodies of our patients.”

One in five children experiences a mental health disorder in a given year. In fact, suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescents ages 12-17, according to Integral Care, which serves Austin and cities within Travis County.

Within Seton, common mental health diagnoses among children and teens include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Construction will begin in the next six –to -nine months and is expected to be complete in spring of 2018.

Donations can be made at