By LeAnn Thieman. This was originally published on LeAnn's blog.
Fear, grief, and isolation during the pandemic have triggered a national state of emergency in the mental health of America’s youth.
Youngsters already faced significant mental health challenges, and the pandemic has made them worse, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. They report that children’s mental health is suffering. So much attention is placed on their physical health consequences and too little on their mental health. It’s a health crisis emergency.
The statistics prove it. Between March and October 2020, the percentage of emergency department visits for children with mental health emergencies rose by 24% among children aged 5 to 11 and by 31% among children aged 12 to 17. There were 50% more suspected suicide attempt-related emergency room visits among girls aged 12 to 17 in early 2021 than in early 2019.
Recent data also show that more than 140,000 U.S. children have suffered the loss of a primary or secondary caregiver during the pandemic.
In the first six months of this year, children’s hospitals across the country reported a shocking 45% increase in the number of self-injury and suicide cases in 5- to 17-year-olds compared to the same period in 2019.
Attention has focused on the physical health of our children. It’s time to give the same commitment and attention to their mental and spiritual well-being.
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