New data from the Centers for Disease Control show the proportion of emergency department visits related to mental health crises has increased dramatically for young children and adolescents since the pandemic started.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in extended lock-downs worldwide, millions of children experienced everything from school, sports, and church closures to isolation from friend and peer groups. Birthday parties, sports seasons, clubs, and playdates have been cancelled or put on hold while children exist in a state of what seems like never-ending uncertainty. And after a year since the pandemic began in full force, the shutdown is proving to have a detrimental affect on the mental well-being of children everywhere.
Recent data from various sources shows that during 2020, children’s mental health struggles are leading to alarming realities. Kids’ visits to emergency rooms for mental-health crises have increased. Children are indicating elevated signs of mental-health distress, including mood swings, persistent sadness, changes in sleep habits, weight loss, stomachaches, and other symptoms.
Sarah Sparks, the author of the article, “Children’s Mental Health Emergencies Skyrocketed After COVID-19 Hit. What Schools Can Do” notes: “New federal data confirms what teachers and parents have been worrying about for months: The pandemic is taking a striking toll on children’s mental health…From this March through October , the share of mental health-related hospital emergency department visits rose 24 percent for children ages 5 to 11 and 31 percent among adolescents ages 12 to 17, when compared to the same period in 2019, the CDC reported based on a federal health surveillance program.”
Those who work with kids and who have children in their lives can take the lead in monitoring kids’ well-being and watching for signs of mental-health distress. And, there are specific steps adults can take to support children’s mental health (and their own) during these stressful times. Learn more about the data and read the full article here.
For a free download of mental-health care tips for families, go here.