BALTIMORE (WJZ) —  A trauma-informed unit for young people is opening its doors in Baltimore City at The University of Maryland Children’s Hospital. The unit will welcome children who need help navigating through a crisis.

“We are treating everyone as if they have scary and challenging experiences in the past so our program focuses on making sure children have lots of choice and feel safe and secure,” said Dr. Sarah Edwards, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.

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Calming and open choices are how Dr. Ewdards describes the new state-of-the-art facility where the children are allowed to make choices and learn coping mechanisms.

A recent study shows suicidal thoughts are highest amongst teens. The number magnifies if the teen is an LGBTQ+ youth. City leaders have even taken an interest in the mental health of young people after understanding the impact years of violent and unreliable environments can have on a child.

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“We built this unit because mental health is just as important as physical health,” said Dr. Edwards.

The unit, located in Baltimore City, will allow children to engage in activities that prepare them for life back in their community. While the program often lasts from 5-7 days for most children, the families are introduced to programs aimed at helping children ease back into their environments

Dr. Edwards said patients will range in age from 5-17. ”Many youth have mental health issues but treatment works,” she said.

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The new facility is set to open in June.

Rachael Cardin