The Potluck

Brooklyn Park inpatient facility gets 30 new beds amid mental health crisis

By: - September 20, 2023 8:43 pm

The Brooklyn Park expansion added 30 new beds for adolescent psychiatric patients. Photo by Nafi Soumare/Minnesota Reformer.

PrairieCare, a psychiatric health system with nine Minnesota locations, unveiled the expansion of its inpatient care facility in Brooklyn Park on Wednesday, providing some much-needed relief to an overwhelmed mental health system. 

With legislative approval, the expansion added 30 new beds for adolescent psychiatric patients. 

Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, said lawmakers backed up their commitment to improving the mental health system with $98 million in new money this past legislative session.

Dziedzic referenced her cousin’s struggle to find help. “She was hospitalized with depression and couldn’t find inpatient care; there just weren’t enough beds. She was loved, but she was also tired, and she died from suicide,” Dziedzic said.

Minnesota has a well-documented shortage in-patient psychiatric beds, especially for adolescents. The 30-bed expansion in Brooklyn Park will allow PrairieCare to treat an additional 1,000 adolescents per year, said Todd Archbold, PrairieCare’s CEO.  

“In Minnesota there is a moratorium on psychiatric beds; we reached 98% capacity on beds all of last school year. We could have used these new beds years ago, it just took us this long,” Archbold said.  

The shortage is especially acute given the rise in mental illness among adolescents in recent years. In 2021, more than 4 in 10 students felt persistently sad or hopeless and nearly one-third experienced poor mental health. More than 1 in 5 students seriously considered attempting suicide, and 1 in 10 attempted suicide, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sue Abderholden, executive director of NAMI Minnesota, a mental health advocacy group, said that social media has a substantial impact on the mental health crisis.

“When I was a child, if you got bullied at school, you came home and closed the door, and there was respite. There’s no respite now. It’s still on social media 24/7. We need to give kids that respite,” Abderholden said.

Along with the 30 new beds, the facility has a sensory room, meditation and prayer rooms, and outdoor recreation facilities. Multi-colored wallpaper lines the rooms and hallways. 

“It’s not just about adding beds, it’s about adding a beautiful healing space.” Abderholden said.

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Nafi Soumare
Nafi Soumare

Nafi is an intern reporting for the Minnesota Reformer. Her interests in reporting include social justice, reform, and issues in the Minnesota education system.