Nationwide Children’s Hospital Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion


The statistics are staggering for mental illness in children and adolescents. 50% of all lifetime mental illnesses start by the age of 14. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 24 years old, and third among people ages 10 to 14 years old. One in five children has a significantly impairing mental disorder. One child psychologist is available for every 15,000 youth under the age of 18.

Armed with this knowledge, Nationwide Children’s Hospital realized that as a leading health care provider for children and adolescents, they needed to be the ones to pave the way and to create a hub for mental health care, research, and community relations.

Recognizing a need for greater mental and behavioral health care for children and adolescents, Nationwide Children’s Hospital launched the On Our Sleeves™ campaign in 2018 and thanks to a landmark gift by Big Lots, Nationwide Children’s Hospital celebrates the opening of the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion.


The Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion is the largest and most comprehensive center dedicated exclusively to child and adolescent behavioral and mental health, on a pediatric medical campus in the United States. “We were very intentional about designing the space,” says Patty McClimon, Senior Vice President, Chief Strategy Office of Nationwide Children’s Hospital.


“The team visited ten facilities across the country and found that they needed to create a space for hope and optimism with access to light and nature all while in a very safe space.” This 386,000-square-foot pavilion will help meet a growing need for mental health services in our community, in our country, and around the world. The pavilion integrates acute behavioral health services and prioritizes patient safety in a colorful, friendly environment that is a sibling to the main hospital tower.

“We couldn’t do any of this without the support of Big Lots, our community, and people with a voice spreading our message,” says Ms. McClimon.

The facility features:

A Psychiatric Crisis Department with nine assessment rooms and a 10-bed extended observation suite.

A Youth Crisis Stabilization Unit with 12 beds designed for intensive mental health treatment for youth.

Inpatient psychiatry units maximized for safety and comfort, specifically with regard to furniture, lighting, bathrooms and doorways. This unit will eventually house 48 patients.

A gym, fitness room, and play deck allowing patients the ability to run and play.

An outdoor courtyard, operated by Ronald McDonald House Charities, provides respite to families and staff.

Common gathering spaces on each unit allow patients and families to interact during the day and provide places for connection throughout the treatment journey.

Intensive outpatient programs including the Mood and Anxiety Program, Family-Based Intensive Treatment, outpatient general psychiatry, and the Critical Assessment and Treatment Clinic.

The Center for Suicide Prevention and Research, which address the growing problem of suicide among youth.

Comfort rooms throughout the pavilion offer patients access to soothing spaces that give staff the ability to control lighting and provide music. This sanctuary offers quiet alcoves with views of nature and natural lighting.

meaghan-saunders-anne-wolfe“Behavioral health care is administered across a continuum, from prevention to crisis and services in-between such as patient, outpatient, community-based, school-based, and collaboration with primary care. Nationwide Children’s and our community partners are working together to address many of these areas, but the Big Lot Behavioral Health Pavilion will allow Nationwide Children’s to significantly enhance our services for those who need acute care,” said David Axelson, MD, Chief Psychiatry and Medical Director of Big Lots Behavioral Health Services at Nationwide Children’s. “Our ability to share our care model with other providers across the country will establish Nationwide Children’s at the forefront of solving our mental health crisis.”

“Behavioral health is just as important as physical health. We have an opportunity to get the word out and let people know that it is ok to talk about it,” adds Ms. McClimon.