Capital Campaign Aims to Raise $1 Million for Children’s Mental Health Services at Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute

Posted On On: February 9, 2016 Categories Filed Under: Member News

HARRISBURG, Pa. (February 9, 2016) — The not-for-profit PinnacleHealth Health System is launching the Space to Grow, Room to Heal donor campaign to add inpatient beds and services for children ages 4 to 12 at the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (PPI). The campaign aims to maintain age-appropriate treatment recommendations and address capacity limitations that resulted in more than 120 children who needed inpatient mental health support being turned away last year.


Located on the Polyclinic Campus in Harrisburg, PPI provides inpatient and outpatient child, adolescent and adult psychiatric services to the region and serves patients from more than 60 counties throughout Pennsylvania.


Currently children ages 4 through 18 are treated in the same unit on the fifth floor of Polyclinic’s Landis Building. The campaign will allow the fourth floor of the Landis Building to be transformed into a unit to treat children ages 4 to 12, facilitating private rooms and therapeutic services for them. The current unit will be dedicated to adolescents ages 13 to 18.


“By separating children from adolescents and building an additional unit to treat children who are at different stages of development, we will be able to focus on targeted therapies, education and treatment planning in an age-appropriate environment, allowing staff to spend more time creating exceptional programs that meet the needs of each individual,” states Ehsan Ullah Syed, MD, interim chief medical officer and medical director, Child Unit at PPI.


With planned completion in summer 2016, PPI will be able to:

  • Respond to a critical community health need
  • Transform a former hospital floor into a healing behavioral health unit that incorporates natural elements for children and adolescents
  • Create a state-of-the-art play therapy room for a better, therapeutic environment
  • Build a classroom so that children can continue to learn and grow through age-appropriate education while in treatment
  • Create a sensory room for a safe and comforting space for children to relax and practice coping strategies
  • Create a family visitation room to allow for private and safe visitation


“The creation of a separate unit dedicated to the mental health care of children will allow for more developmentally focused and individualized care in a safe and therapeutic environment. Along with the increase in safety that the unit will provide, I am also excited for the addition of both a play-therapy room and a sensory room. These specialty rooms will allow the children under our care to continue to be children during their hospitalization while also learning and practicing new skills to help them handle the day-to-day stressors they encounter,” states Amanda Baldwin, RN, clinical manager, child unit at PPI.


As highlighted in the 2015 regional Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), from 2007 to 2012, rates of emotional, behavioral or developmental conditions in children in the United States and Pennsylvania have increased, with Pennsylvania reporting higher rates than the nation (PA: 19%, US: 17%).


The total cost of the new unit and renovations to the adolescent unit is $2.5 million. The PinnacleHealth Foundation plans to raise $1 million through the Space to Grow, Room to Heal campaign.  Construction began this month.


To make your gift, contact the PinnacleHealth Foundation at (717) 231-8080 or