Pediatric groups declare ‘national mental health emergency’

Leading pediatric health organizations warn that the rise in behavioral problems in children since the start of the pandemic has risen to the level of a national public health crisis.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, along with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association on Tuesday declared a national emergency for children’s mental health.

The organizations are asking for more federal funding to ensure access to mental health services, telemedicine and more support for school care, which is often the primary concern. According to the School-Based Health Alliance, schools provide an estimated 70% of their behavioral health care.

“Young people have endured so much during this pandemic and while much attention is often paid to the physical health implications, we cannot overlook the escalating mental health crisis our patients are facing,” said AAP President Dr. . Lee Savio Beers in a declassified publication. pronunciation. “We need to treat this mental health crisis as the emergency it is.”

In May, Children’s Hospital Colorado CEO Jena Hausman declared an emergency, claiming the hospital’s pediatric emergency departments and inpatient units had been “flooded” with suicide attempts and other serious mental disorders.

Nationally, the number of emergency room visits related to mental health care increased by 24% among children aged 5 to 11 years and by 31% among young people aged 12 to 17 years between March and October 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, according to a November report. Report 2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In their statement, the groups said communities of color have experienced three or more economic and health-related hardships as a result of the pandemic, nearly twice as fast as Asian and white households, according to a January joint research report from pediatric research organization Child Trends and the National Research. Center on Hispanic Children and Families.

“Children and families in our country have experienced tremendous hardship and disruption,” the groups said in the statement. “The inequalities resulting from structural racism have contributed to a disproportionate impact on children from communities of color.”

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