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St. Louis Children’s Hospital and KVC Missouri Announce Agreement to Address Missouri’s Youth Mental Health Crisis

Addressing the youth mental health crisis in Missouri

ST. LOUIS, Mo., (May 29, 2024) – Two of Missouri’s leading children’s healthcare providers – St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) and KVC Missouri (KVC) – aim to address the region’s urgent pediatric mental health crisis by working together through a joint venture to expand access to treatment and mental health programming.

The plan, as envisioned, would enhance KVC Missouri’s existing Webster Groves campus to include a new world-class children’s behavioral health hospital and residential program, as well as an outpatient treatment center to provide continuous care for patients. Within the new facility, children would be cared for by experienced and specially trained pediatric behavioral health experts from Washington University School of Medicine and KVC. KVC Academy Edgewood, a K-12 therapeutic school, will remain on campus as well.

National and local data show that Missouri youth are facing unprecedented anxiety and depression, as well as increases in youth suicide and suicidal ideation. Hospital emergency departments are seeing more children with severe mental health needs, yet they lack sufficient resources to provide the care they need. A shortage of beds for inpatient behavioral health treatment is causing children and families to experience delays in admissions, lengthy waitlists, and long travel times to find appropriate treatment.

Trish Lollo, President, St. Louis Children’s Hospital

Trish Lollo, President, St. Louis Children’s Hospital

“Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 10- to 14-year-olds in Missouri, yet St. Louis and surrounding areas have fewer than half of the psychiatric beds needed to address this crisis, said St. Louis Children’s Hospital President Trish Lollo. “We’re proud to join forces with KVC to create real solutions to improve children’s mental health, increase access to expert treatment, and ultimately, help save lives.”

As a mental wellness campus, the grounds will reflect a serene healing environment with pediatric beds, private courtyards, and spaces for recreation, activities and dining. The overall design will be centered on supportive care and treatment spaces, patient wellness, connection with nature, and patient and staff safety.

Lindsey Stephenson, President, KVC Missouri

Lindsey Stephenson, President, KVC Missouri

“We see every day the life-saving impact access to compassionate and trauma-informed treatment can have,” said KVC Missouri President Lindsey Stephenson. “Our relationship with St. Louis Children’s Hospital will help us provide kids and families with the support they urgently need in a world-class facility staffed by the region’s leading experts in pediatric mental health.”

St. Louis Children’s Hospital, part of BJC Health System, is one of the country’s premier children’s hospitals and is staffed by Washington University pediatric specialists. It continuously ranks as one of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals.

KVC Missouri is one of the state’s leading providers of children’s mental health and child welfare services. It is part of KVC Health Systems, a network of nonprofits that serves nearly 5,000 youth each year at three acute children’s mental health hospitals and six residential programs and provides nearly 40,000 children and adults with in-home therapy and family support services.

It is anticipated that the project will take 18- to 24-months to complete.

For more information about this project and mental health statistics and resources, visit www.stlouischildrens.org and www.kvcmo.org.

About BJC HealthCare

St. Louis Children’s Hospital is a part of BJC HealthCare, which serves the East Region of BJC Health System, one of the largest nonprofit health care organizations in the United States. Through its 14 hospitals and multiple health service organizations, BJC facilities deliver extraordinary care to urban, suburban and rural communities in greater St. Louis, southern Illinois and southeast Missouri, as well as to people from across the country and around the world at its academic hospitals Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s Hospitals. BJC’s nationally-recognized academic hospitals are affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine. Services provided include inpatient and outpatient care, primary care, community health and wellness, workplace health, home health, community mental health, rehabilitation, long-term care and hospice. To learn more, visit BJC.org, FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn. As one of the largest employers in Missouri, BJC Health System comprises 24 hospitals and hundreds of clinics and service organizations and operates in two distinct regions, serving patients in its west region through Saint Luke’s Health System.

About KVC Missouri

KVC Missouri is one of the state’s leading providers of children’s mental health and child welfare services. It is a private nonprofit that strengthens families, prevents child abuse and neglect, and helps people achieve mental wellness through a broad continuum of care. KVC has more than 800 caring team members and 24 locations statewide with regional hubs in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, Columbia, and St. James. It is part of KVC Health Systems, a comprehensive behavioral health and child welfare system made up of nonprofits with a shared mission and values. The KVC network has over 2,400 employees across Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Kentucky, and West Virginia, and is proud to be in the top 1% of employers nationwide with a high 80 Work Wellbeing Score on Indeed. Learn more at www.kvcmo.org.

About Washington University School of Medicine

WashU Medicine is a global leader in academic medicine, including biomedical research, patient care and educational programs with 2,900 faculty. Its National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding portfolio is the second largest among U.S. medical schools and has grown 56% in the last seven years. Together with institutional investment, WashU Medicine commits well over $1 billion annually to basic and clinical research innovation and training. Its faculty practice is consistently within the top five in the country, with more than 1,900 faculty physicians practicing at 130 locations and who are also the medical staffs of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals of BJC HealthCare. WashU Medicine has a storied history in MD/PhD training, recently dedicated $100 million to scholarships and curriculum renewal for its medical students, and is home to top-notch training programs in every medical subspecialty as well as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and audiology and communications sciences.

MEDIA CONTACTS

BJC/St. Louis Children’s Hospital
Laura High, , 618-304-7854

KVC Health Systems
Blythe Hinderliter, , 913-444-2080

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