Southeast Missouri’s first Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit Opens

Leonna Heuring, Standard-Democrat

The 15-bed Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit at Missouri Delta Medical Center in Sikeston officially opens Wednesday, providing specialized services closer to home for Southeast Missouri residents.

“Historically, if an adolescent comes through our hospital and we place them somewhere, they are either going to Springfield, Mo.; Nevada, Mo.; or they’re going to St. Louis,” said Sarah Garner, behavioral health community liaison for Missouri Delta. “Those are the closest locations.”

This state-of-the art unit is designed to treat adolescents between the ages of 12-17 who are dealing with various behavioral health conditions, Garner said. The new unit will provide intensive inpatient psychiatric treatment for adolescents who are experiencing behavioral and emotional problems in a safe, secure and educational environment.

Just as the hospital anticipates treating local patients; it also anticipates treating patients from across the state.

Until now.

“Now they have the ability to stay here in Southeast Missouri,” Garner said.

“These units, from what we understand, are full all of the time, so I predict that just like we’ve been sending patients five hours away, there will be times where someone else five hours away will send to us because it’s an open-bed facility,” Garner said.

In the state of Missouri, suicide is the second leading cause of death among children under the age of 19 and 20% of youth live with a mental health condition. Since 2003, the rate of suicide in children and adolescents in Missouri increased by 129%

Over a four-year period, 500 adolescents in Southeast Missouri needed treatment from Bootheel Counseling and Juvenile Offices in Scott and Mississippi Counties alone. Between July 2017 and March 2018, over 60 adolescent patients from Bootheel Counseling Services in Sikeston needed inpatient behavioral health services.

Due to the lack of adolescent behavioral health treatment options within a 60-mile radius of Sikeston; Missouri Delta launched the effort to fulfill the community’s need by planning to open the 15-bed inpatient adolescent behavioral health unit.

Located on the second floor at Missouri Delta Medical Center, the unit is staffed by a multidisciplinary team that will provide evaluation, stabilization and treatment services with 24-hour nursing care. Trained behavioral health professionals will address the mental, emotional and physical needs of patients, helping them learn skills to manage their situation effectively, Garner said.

The approach to treatment in the Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit is based on current medical research and customized to meet the individual needs of the patient with a variety of therapies, services and medication management.

The unit includes single-bed and double-bed rooms and activity rooms. A daily schedule is in place for patients, who are allotted times for visitors and phone calls every day. There will also be time for school work as the hospital has partnered with Sikeston R-6 School District to provide education for patients.

Garner said the average length of stay for a patient in the acute behavioral health unit is five to seven days.

“They will be assessing patients and figuring out what their needs are,” Garner said. “Do they need placement into some type of long-term residential facility, and we will orchestrate and arrange that? Or is this someone who needs connected with a good counselor, and then we will tie them in with Bootheel Counseling or Community Counseling in Cape or Family Counseling in Poplar Bluff? So it’s kind of an area where we keep the adolescents safe while we can assess what’s going on with them and then make the proper long-term recommendations.”

The unit in Sikeston is not one where adolescents will come and receive all of their treatment, Garner said.

“We will manage the crisis and figure out the next step,” she said.

Missouri Delta is honored to bring this service and a team of highly trained professionals to the Southeast Missouri region, Garner said.

Dr. Syed Sayeed, psychiatrist, is serving as the Medical Director alongside Rowdy Phillips, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, and a full staff of RNs, LPNs, techs, licensed clinical social workers, activity therapists and a number of support staff to ensure all aspects of the patient’s needs are met.

Licensed clinical social worker Cindy Dohogne, who also has a master’s in social work, is the program director.

“Her background is in the children’s division so she’s bringing a lot of expertise,” Garner said of Dohogne.

Through the efforts of Amy Alcorn, Foundation director, monies were raised for the $2.6 million through Missouri Delta’s employees, a community capital campaign and several fundraising events in Sikeston and Charleston.

Because of outpouring of support and widespread need for this unit, the Missouri Delta Foundation received grants from the Mabee Foundation and Delta Regional Authority, totaling $461,000, which helped make this unit a reality.

“We are very excited for the opening of this facility and know that it will positively impact the lives of our youth who are experiencing a crisis or have become overwhelmed with personal or family problems,” said Missouri Delta Medical Center CEO Jason Schrumpf. “There is a critical need and huge void in access to inpatient behavioral health services for adolescents. We are fortunate to now have the facility and expertise to meet this need.”

Visit for a virtual tour of the new unit.

Additional information can be received by contacting Garner calling 573-472-7222 or by emailing at