Pediatric Teams Declare ‘National Mental Health Emergency’

Leading pediatric health organizations warn that the surge in behavioral health problems among children since the start of the pandemic has reached the level of a national public health crisis.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, together with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Association of Children’s Hospitals, proclaimed national child mental health emergency on Tuesday.

Organizations are asking for more federal funding to provide access to mental health services, telemedicine and additional support for school care, which is often the first point of care. Schools provide about 70% of mental health services, according to School Health Alliance

“Young people have gone through so much during this pandemic, and while much attention is often paid to its physical health implications, we cannot ignore the growing mental health crisis facing our patients,” said AAP President Dr. Lee Savio Beers in a published statement. “We have to treat this mental health crisis like an emergency.”

In May, Colorado Children’s Hospital CEO Jena Houseman declared an emergency, saying the hospital’s pediatric emergency departments and hospitals were “overwhelmed” with suicide attempts and other serious mental disorders.

Nationwide, emergency room visits for mental health issues rose 24% for children ages 5-11 and 31% for youths ages 12-17, from March to October 2020, according to a November report. year compared to the same period in 2019. Feb 2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report

In a statement, the groups said communities of color experienced three or more economic and health-related hardships as a result of the pandemic, nearly double that of Asian and white households, according to a January joint report. brief study from Pediatric Research Organization, Child Trends and the National Research Center for Hispanic Children and Families.

“Children and families across our country have experienced tremendous hardship and destruction,” the groups said in a statement. “Inequalities resulting from structural racism have disproportionately affected children from communities of color.”

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