Incidents involving teens at MN mental health facilities raise questions


Two Minnesota mental health facilities are under the microscope following reported missteps by hospital workers and a state department.

Scrutiny of the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter is continuing in the wake of a teenage patient's violent attack on a female employee earlier this month, with the Star Tribune reporting the 16-year-old shouldn't have been there in the first place.

The boy reportedly bashed the woman's head into a brick wall a number of times, sending her to the hospital.

According to the Star Tribune, court documents reveal the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) violated a 2011 court order prohibiting the transfer of patients to security hospitals if they are only suffering from developmental disabilities – as is apparently the case of the teen involved in the attack.

The DHS website indicates the St. Peter hospital is used to house "people who have been committed by the court as mentally ill and dangerous."

The situation has prompted calls from Gov. Mark Dayton and some Minnesota lawmakers for change at the facility, where the number of patient assaults on workers is on pace for a record high, KARE 11 reports.

Incident in St. Cloud

An employee at the St. Cloud Children's Home has been disciplined for leaving a 14-year-old patient "on risk status for suicide" alone in a calming room, where the youth was later found with a sweatshirt wrapped around their neck, according to the St. Cloud Times.

The incident happened in May, and the paper notes the teen was ultimately unharmed. But the staffer in question was cited for “maltreatment as to neglect" – it's unclear whether the person will be subject to any further action.

The home is run by Catholic Charities, part of the Diocese of St. Cloud.

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