COLUMBUS (WCMH)– Central Ohio is now a safer place for our children, because the one in five kids who suffer from a mental health disorder now have a place to go for long-term care.

The new Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is bright and open— serving as a symbol for all who come through its doors.

“This building, from its inception to its design, is designed to be purpose-driven and stigma-breaking,” said Alex Bishara with NCH Behavioral Health Community Engagement. “It’s really a leap towards parity between physical health care and mental health care.”

In addition to the natural light throughout the building, there are fresh air porches and two courtyards with trees and flowers that have shown to also help with the healing process.

I think that’s what sets Columbus apart from everyone in the United States. We are just smart, open community. We all really rally when we know this community needs something, and this pavilion is an unprecedented community commitment and a dedication to kids behavioral health.

Katie Thomas, Nationwide Children’s Hospital

That need stems from a growing mental health crisis. NCH says one in five children have a significantly impairing behavioral health disorder. Along with patient care, the root of the crisis will be studied at the new facility.

“That’s the million-dollar question, that a lot of folks have ideas. We are certainly excited that one of the most significant innovations at this building is space dedicated towards research for behavioral healthcare because there are really a lot of things that we don’t know for sure yet,” Bishara added.

What they do know is staggering.

“Suicide has become the second leading cause of death for those 10-19 years old, and even research more recently shows those rates have been increasing, particularly for our girls age 10 to 14,” explained Bishara.

The pavilion will start treating patients later in March.



If someone you care about is in an emergency, life-threatening situation, call 9-1-1 or go to an emergency department. For crisis situations that are not life-threatening, please call your county’s psychiatric crisis line number. In Franklin County, call (614) 722-1800 for youth and adolescents 17 and under. Ages 18 and older should call (614) 276-2273. If someone you care about is having thoughts of suicide or needs to talk, encourage them to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you prefer to text, you can text “START” to 741-741 where a live, trained specialist will respond back to you.

CLICK HERE for more on the signs your child might need therapy.

This content, in partnership with NBC4, is sponsored by Nationwide Children’s Hospital