The Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit at Newport Hospital

Together, We Can Expand Essential Services for Our Community’s Most Vulnerable Teens.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for pediatric mental and behavioral health services has swelled to crisis level. Unfortunately, Rhode Island does not currently have the capacity to meet the increased need, leaving many patients waiting for help when they need it most.

In Newport County, specifically, adolescents struggling with severe mental and behavioral health challenges do not have an option for local acute care. The state’s limited behavioral health beds are all located in the Providence area—at Bradley, Hasbro Children’s, and Butler hospitals.

Adolescents and their families are forced to turn to Newport Hospital’s emergency department for the support they so desperately need. In 2022, adolescents were boarded in the emergency department while awaiting inpatient treatment for 290 of 365 days, with each patient staying an average of 14 to 18 days.

The state’s current lack of inpatient bed capacity affects some of our community’s most susceptible teens—those struggling with self-harm, aggression, and/or suicidal thoughts or behavior.

Nationwide, high demand for services coupled with provider shortage has caused several national and local groups, including the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Pediatrics, and Rhode Island Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, to declare a state of emergency in child and adolescent mental health. In Rhode Island, one in five children ages 6 to 17 has a diagnosable mental health disorder and countless others likely struggle with symptoms in silence.


High-quality acute behavioral health care saves lives, and we have a responsibility to make sure it is accessible to every person who needs it.

Today we ask for your support in helping create a new Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit (ABHU) at Newport Hospital. A direct response to the call to action issued by our state and country’s pediatric health care leaders, the unit will be operated as a partnership between Newport Hospital and its world-renowned Lifespan partner Bradley Hospital.

To learn more, please contact: Sara Meirowitz, Chief Development Officer, at or 401.845.1617.