KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Children facing a mental health crisis will now have access to critical resources through the new pediatric Crisis Stabilization Unit at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, the first of its kind in Tennessee.

Officials with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and the McNabb Center host a ribbon-cutting event Thursday, May 19 at 2:30 p.m. on the fourth floor of the Children’s Hospital.

According to McNabb Center, “the goal of the CSU is to provide a safe place to address the needs of children facing a mental health crisis while diverting the child from psychiatric hospitalization.” Families will be able to access the CSU services through either the Children’s Hospital emergency department or through a Mobile Crisis Unit.

The pediatric CSU at Children’s Hospital is funded through a $5 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) to McNabb Center, which is a longtime provider of mental health services in East Tennessee. McNabb Center is partnering with Children’s Hospital to create the CSU.

Masks are optional inside the hospital at this time.

McNabb Center is a leading regional nonprofit provider of mental health, substance use, social and victim services.

Mental Health Awareness Month

During the month of May, McNabb Center is hosting a virtual campaign in order to start a conversation about the importance of mental health, since May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Approximately 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 6 youth aged 6-17 will experience a mental health issue each year, according to McNabb Center, and by openly talking about mental health concerns and knowing that millions of Americans have faced a diagnosis, McNabb Center says the community can work together to overcome the stigma associated with mental illness.

“A person’s mental health impacts their overall health,” Mona Blanton-Kitts, McNabb Center president, said. “By working to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, we hope to help people address their mental health concerns and seek help.”