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Children's Hospitals Saw 31% Increase In Mental Health Admissions For Children And Teens

from File

MENTAL HEALTH EMERGENCY- According to pediatricians, child and adolescent psychiatrists and children’s hospitals there is a national emergency regarding the mental health of children and teens. Last year Children’s Hospitals nationwide saw a 31% increase in mental health admissions for younger people. Amy Wimpey Knight is President of the Children’s Hospital Association and shares more details on their findings.

“Certainly the pandemic put an exclamation point on what was a growing crisis beforehand,” Knight said. “If you look back about a decade or so what we’ve seen is about a 60% increase in the national suicide rate among teens and young adults from ages ten to twenty-four. And most recently we understand there about one in six children who are aged two to eight, many of them born during the pandemic who will suffer from mental behavioral development and disorder.”

The increase in mental health admissions for teens and children has come at a time when there’s a 20% shortage of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals needed to handle the surge in caseloads.

Amy Wimpey Knight, President - Children's Hospital Association
Courtesy: CHA
Amy Wimpey Knight, President - Children's Hospital Association

“Not every child will need a psychiatrist and hopefully not in many cases. So by also continuing to invest in other professionals whether that be school-based counselors or community resources, or just the training of primary care physicians to be able to take care of the lower-end mental health issues that start to show up in kids early in their life,” Knight said.

Mental health experts agree that adult addiction, incarceration, homelessness, and violence can often be traced to untreated mental health issues in childhood and adolescence. The Children’s Hospital Association is supporting bi-partisan legislation to provide more mental health resources to schools and hospitals.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.