New Chippenham child treatment center highlights need for mental health care

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RICHMOND, Va. --  Chippenham Hospital has officially opened its new facility specializing in care for children in need of mental health treatment.

The new Child and Adolescent Treatment Center will focus on child psychiatry. Doctors said the center will help the hospital cope with the high demand for that kind of patient care.

"We have about 6,000 trained child psychiatrists, and it's estimated we need minimally 20,000 right now, " Dr. Martin Buxton, Chief of Psychiatry at CJW Medical Center and Medical Director of the Child and Adolescent Center, said about the national demand.

"[We had a] tremendous amount of deflections, which is close to over a thousand last year, and we're approaching that already and we're halfway through the year," Dr. Buxton said.

The new facility will have 24 beds and treat patients 17 years old and younger. Apart from medical facilities, it will also connect to a gym which will allow patients to easily access it.

For parents of children in need of mental health care, the new center is a blessing.

Renee Swymer's son has a history of mental illness and have previously been treated at Chippenham. She said currently parents like her struggle to find care and more new facilities are needed.

"It can be a nightmare," Swymer said.

Swymer told CBS 6 wait times for appointments can take up to four months.

"We had a doctor recently drop us because we were late for an appointment," Swymer said.