Children’s Hospitals Grapple With Wave of Mental Illness
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of U.S. News & World Report
Posted: February 14th, 2021
Government figures show the proportion of children who arrived in emergency departments with mental health issues increased 24% from mid-March through mid-October, compared with the same period in 2019. Among preteens and adolescents, it rose by 31%. Anecdotally, some hospitals said they are seeing more cases of severe depression and suicidal thoughts among children, particularly attempts to overdose. The increased demand for intensive mental health care that has accompanied the pandemic has worsened issues that have long plagued the system. In some hospitals, the number of children unable to immediately get a bed in the psychiatric unit rose. Others reduced the number of beds or closed psychiatric units altogether to reduce the spread of COVID-19. "It's only a matter of time before a tsunami sort of reaches the shore of our service system, and it's going to be overwhelmed," said Jason Williams ... at Children's Hospital Colorado. Children's hospitals in New York, Colorado and Missouri all reported an uptick in the number of patients who thought about or attempted suicide. Clinicians also mentioned spikes in children with severe depression and those with autism who are acting out.