COLUMBUS, Ohio — One Ohio organization is trying its best to change the lives of Ohio children who need help with their mental health.

What You Need To Know

  • The Buckeye Ranch and Nationwide Children's Hospital partnered together to build a new youth mental health facility 

  • The mental health facility will provide a specific type of treatment called psychiatric residential treatment

  • Psychiatric residential treatment is 24-hour supervision and support for youth patients who need extra services before returning home

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2021, nearly one third of students experience poor mental health, and some require psychiatric treatment that can lead to a hospital stay. But not everyone who is ready to leave the hospital is ready to go home.

“Ohio has a big system of care for kids who need assistance with their mental health needs. But there’s been a gap. There’s been a gap in our system for a long time,” said Sarah Book, vice president of residential services for The Buckeye Ranch.

The Buckeye Ranch, a nonprofit organization that provides behavioral health, education and child welfare services, is trying to close that gap.

It started out as a small psychiatric facility in Grove City. But now it is expanding because the need for youth mental health services is growing.

“We have children today from all over Ohio that need this level of care and the service is not available in this current continuum,” said Vickie Sandy-Thompson, president and CEO of The Buckeye Ranch.

The Buckeye Ranch is partnering with Nationwide Children’s Hospital to build a 57,000 square foot youth mental health facility because the need for a specific type of treatment is needed, especially in Ohio. 

“On any given day, we have about 140 Ohio kids outside of the state receiving this level of care. One important part of this is that we need to be able to provide care close to home so that kids can be near the people they love while they’re getting the treatment that they need,” said Sandy-Thompson.

The service the organization is offering is called psychiatric residential treatment. The treatment that will provide 24-hour supervision and support for youth patients who are experiencing more chronic and intensive mental health concerns. This new facility will provide a space for youth to continue psychiatric treatment after a hospital visit before returning home.

“Our main goal is to be able to help step those kids down, especially the ones that are from central Ohio. We’re able to do that good kind of care across the system and this county is really important for us to keep kids and families as close together as possible,” said Book.

The Buckeye Ranch says this is a long time coming.

“The Buckeye Ranch and Nationwide Children’s Hospital have been partnering for several years. Since 2019, we’ve been talking about this gap in our continuum and so we’ve been designing this for a while,” said Sandy-Thompson. 

They will begin building the new facility at the beginning of next year. It is expected to be completed by 2025.