Wolfson Children’s Hospital announces $3 million gift from THE PLAYERS Championship Village, Inc., for a new inpatient behavioral health unit

The 20-bed Behavioral Health and Wellness Unit will double the number of inpatient behavioral health beds available for children and adolescents.

Jacksonville, FL

Today, THE PLAYERS Championship Village, Inc. (The Village) announced a $3 million gift toward a new inpatient behavioral health unit at Wolfson Children's Hospital.

Expected to open in spring 2024, the new 20-bed Behavioral Health and Wellness Unit will be on the 3rd floor of Wolfson Children’s Hospital in space previously occupied by the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, which relocated to the Borowy Family Children’s Critical Care Tower in 2022. Wolfson Children’s Hospital currently has a 14-bed Larry J. Freeman Behavioral Health Unit on the 1st floor of the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Tower, in addition to an eight-bed behavioral health pod located in the main Wolfson Children’s Emergency Center. In addition to inpatient and partial hospitalization behavioral health services, Wolfson Children’s provides outpatient consultation, evaluation and treatment for children and adolescents.

The PLAYERS Championship Village, Inc. Board of Directors member Mike Hartley; Baptist Health President and CEO Michael A. Mayo, DHA, FACHE; Wolfson Children’s Hospital President Allegra C. Jaros, MBA; and Baptist Behavioral Health Vice President Terrie Andrews, PhD, made the announcement at a news conference this morning during Mental Health Awareness Month.

This $3 million gift to Wolfson Children’s Hospital is the first from THE PLAYERS Championship Village, Inc. but the third from THE PLAYERS Championship, which provided a $1 million gift in 2011 and a $2 million gift in 2016 to benefit child health, wellness and injury prevention programming at THE PLAYERS Center for Child Health at Wolfson Children’s.

“The relationship between Baptist Health, Wolfson Children’s Hospital, THE PLAYERS Championship and the PGA Tour goes back many years and our entire community continues to be strengthened because of this long-time collaboration,” said Dr. Mayo. “We could not be more grateful for this significant $3 million gift from THE PLAYERS Championship Village, Inc. toward inpatient pediatric behavioral health care, but also for their decades of work to meet the needs of underserved teens at risk for or recovering from substance abuse addiction.”

Hartley said, “THE PLAYERS Championship Village has a long history of ensuring that young people in our community have the right foundation for success. This partnership with Baptist Health and Wolfson Children’s Hospital will have a life-changing impact for children and adolescents in need of critical behavioral health services.”

Addressing a critical community need

Jaros said, “Compared to the 1% population growth over the next five years, pediatric ER visits related to mental health are expected to grow by 9% across the country and inpatient stays are expected to increase by 11%. Like communities across the nation, Northeast Florida has been challenged to match limited mental health resources for children and adolescents with the overwhelming demand for this specialized type of care. As a primary provider of inpatient pediatric mental health services, Wolfson Children’s Hospital has long worked with like-minded community organizations on creative solutions to fill gaps in services where we can to support struggling families, with more to come. We are so grateful to The Village for this incredible gift that will have an impact on generations to come.”

Terrie Andrews, PhD, vice president of Baptist Behavioral Health, said that 90% percent of patients presenting to one of six Wolfson Children’s Emergency Centers with mental health crises are brought in by their parents. That’s why support from THE PLAYERS Championship Village for this new inpatient behavioral health unit is critical for patients and families faced with a mental health crisis.

“The new Behavioral Health and Wellness Unit at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, supported by The Village, will significantly expand our capacity to care for children and teens requiring hospitalization for serious mental health conditions, including severe depression, psychosis and suicidal ideation,” Dr. Andrews said. “Each time we lose a precious teen or child to death by suicide, it only reinvigorates our efforts as a mental health community to enhance treatment options in the inpatient and outpatient settings and to continue to step up our collaborative work in education, outreach, prevention and intervention. This transformative gift from THE PLAYERS Championship Village will help us save lives.”

“Wolfson Children’s Hospital has long been committed to the treatment of the whole pediatric patient, both their medical and mental health needs,” said Michael De La Hunt, MD, medical director, Pediatric Inpatient Behavioral Health Services, Wolfson Children's. “In recent years, we have seen an explosion in demand for crisis mental health services, exceeding local pediatric inpatient bed capacity. These services are already underfunded so the support of THE PLAYERS Championship Village to help us add 20 new inpatient rooms in a unit that will be welcoming, comforting, innovative, and state-of-the-art will help us meet a crucial and critical need.”