A new model of care for children with mental health needs


The Grace Grego Maxwell Mental Health Unit at Dell Children’s offers coordinated, comprehensive care for children and teens

On May 17, 2018 Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas celebrated the opening of the Grace Grego Maxwell Mental Health Unit at Dell Children’s, a new facility providing comprehensive mental health services for children and teens all under one roof.

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

Comprehensive, coordinated care

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as many as one in five children under the age of 17 has a diagnoseable mental disorder. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year.

The Grace Grego Maxwell Mental Health Unit at Dell Children’s helps meet a community need for coordinated, comprehensive care for kids and teens aged six to 17.

In a dedicated pediatric-focused environment, child and adolescent psychiatrists will treat conditions like depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders and suicide ideation.

“This new model for coordinated care will allow us to diagnose and treat children with mental needs before, during and after a crisis,” said Dr. Sonia Krishna, Dell Children’s child and adolescent psychiatrist.

Designed with children and their families in mind, the Grace Grego Maxwell Mental Health Unit at Dell Children’s provides improved access to care, reducing the stigma that families deal with when it comes to mental illness.

When a child is in crisis, parents can call a 24/7 hotline to connect with a trained behavioral health navigator. An interdisciplinary treatment team provides immediate evaluation, 24-hour nursing and psychiatric care.

The unit includes 24-inpatient beds, and an intensive outpatient program and a partial hospital program. The Texas Child Study Center, the outpatient component of the comprehensive program will continue to provide services and is run in partnership with The University of Texas at Austin.

The Rooster Teeth Healing Garden offers patients and their families a dedicated basketball court, garden and covered area for relaxing outside the unit.

A caring community

In January 2017, Nyle and Nancy Maxwell and their family announced a generous $3 million challenge gift. The dollar-for-dollar gift was matched by the community. The Grace Grego Maxwell Mental Health Unit is named after Nyle Maxwell’s mother, a longtime volunteer at Dell Children’s.

“The new Grace Grego Maxwell Mental Health Unit would simply not be opening without the generosity of this community. As a mom and member of Dell Children’s staff, I am proud to know that I live in a place that wants to continually do better and be better,” Kristi Katz, executive director of Dell Children’s Medical Center Foundation said.