Working as a psychiatrist at Prairie St. John’s hospital in Fargo over a decade ago, Dr. Stephen Setterberg kept getting waves of children and teenagers from the Twin Cities in dire need of mental health treatment. The metro area’s limited number of hospital beds for young psychiatric patients contending with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, aggression, depression or suicidal thoughts were usually full, and desperate parents would drive their children wherever there were openings: Rochester, Duluth, Fargo, Sioux Falls.
Though they ultimately got the crisis care they needed far from home, it wasn’t ideal. It put enormous strain on families to have very sick kids hundreds of miles away, and it was difficult to make progress with follow-up care after doctors addressed their immediate situation. Setterberg and his partners saw a solution.