On Monday, the first patients will be admitted into the new Grace Grego Maxwell Mental Health Unit at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas.

The center, which was made possible by a $3 million donation and matching grant from Nyle and Nancy Maxwell and their family in January 2017, is named after Nyle Maxell’s mother, a longtime volunteer at the hospital.

“As with most families who are challenged with raising children in this complicated environment we have today, mental health is a challenge,” said Maxwell, former Round Rock Mayor and owner of the Nyle Maxwell Family of Dealerships, when his family announced their donation. “My family is not immune to this.”

Dr. Sonia Krishna, a child and adolscent psychiatrist, shows an examination room at the Grace Grego Maxwell Mental Health Unit at the Dell Children’ss Medical Center of Central Texas. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The opening of the 24-bed mental health hospital unit means that children with mental health diseases can be treated at the same facility as children with physical diseases.

“The biggest thing is we are really destigmatizing mental illness,” says Dr. Sonia Krishna, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Dell Children’s. “It’s on the same plane as children getting treatment for physical illness. It’s another pediatric problem.”

Previously, children needing hospitalization for mental health diseases would come to the emergency room at Dell Children’s and then be transferred to the pediatric and adolescent unit at Seton Shoal Creek Hospital or another hospital. That unit at Shoal Creek accepted its last pediatric or adolescent patient on Thursday morning. Those remaining in that hospital over the weekend will be moved to the new unit at Dell Children’s on Monday. In the meantime, patients are being referred to other mental health hospitals throughout the area.

Seton Shoal Creek will become an adult-only facility on Monday. Seton has not determined what the now-empty unit at Shoal Creek will become. The long-range plan is for a new adult hospital.

The Grace Grego Maxwell Mental Health Unit at the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas will open on Monday. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The new unit at Dell Children’s was both an addition and a remodel of existing space. The unit has a separate entrance and waiting room that will be staffed 24-hours a day. Physicians can now…

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Mayra Rodriguez

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