Health groups declare national state of emergency in children's mental health

covid kids
Posted at 10:54 AM, Oct 21, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Some children's health groups have declared a national state of emergency in children's mental health.

The declaration is from the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Children's Hospital Association.

"This worsening crisis in child and adolescent mental health is inextricably tied to the stress brought on by COVID-19 and the ongoing struggle for racial justice and represents an acceleration of trends observed prior to 2020," the declaration said.

The groups called on lawmakers and communities to advocate for a variety of issues, such as improving access to telemedicine and increased funding dedicated to get families and kids access to care.

"We are caring for young people with soaring rates of depression, anxiety, trauma, loneliness, and suicidality that will have lasting impacts on them, their families, and their communities," the declaration said.

According to the CDC, mental health emergency room visits for kids jumped from April to October of 2020 compared to the previous year.

"Beginning in April 2020, the proportion of children’s mental health–related ED visits among all pediatric ED visits increased and remained elevated through October. Compared with 2019, the proportion of mental health–related visits for children aged 5–11 and 12–17 years increased approximately 24%. and 31%, respectively," the report said.

Dr. Lee Beers the President of the American Academy of Pediatrics told our affiliates at Scripps, that loving relationships and activities can help.

"One of the best ways to protect and promote a child's mental health is to make sure that they have access to you know safe loving relationships with adults and activities that that help them really grow and thrive and develop their confidence and so that's something that each and every one of us can do," Dr. Beers said.