Thanks to a generous challenge gift, Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas, part of Seton Healthcare Family in Ascension Texas, will be able to provide the full spectrum of​ mental health care for children and teens.

Nyle and Nancy Maxwell and their family announced a $3 million challenge gift, which means that donations from the community will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $3 million. The Maxwells hope their donation can help reduce the stigma associated with mental health needs.

"It breaks my heart, but right now children in Central Texas don't have a dedicated pediatric-focused inpatient facility where they can immediately go if they suffer a mental health crisis or, better yet, before a crisis," Nyle Maxwell said. "Many good minds are coming together to solve this problem and Dell Children's is taking the lead."

Construction of the Grace Grego Maxwell Mental Health Unit at Dell Children's, named after Nyle Maxwell's mother, will begin in the next six –to -nine months and is expected to be complete in spring of 2018. Child and adolescent psychiatrists will treat conditions like eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Once finished, it will include:

  • An inpatient unit with 24 beds
  • Texas Child Study Center, an outpatient clinic of Dell Children's, in partnership with The University of Texas at Austin
  • An intensive outpatient program

Sonia Krishna, MD, Dell Children's child and adolescent psychiatrist, said the unit is an important resource to treat patients comprehensively.

"This new model for coordinated care will allow us to diagnose and treat children with mental health needs before, during and after a crisis," Krishna said. "Dell Children's will soon have more extensive integrated resources than ever before to treat the minds and bodies of our patients."

One in five children experiences a mental health disorder in a given year. In fact, suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescents ages 12-17, according to Integral Care, which serves Austin.​