Kids Need Help, And It's Available
To contradict Roger Daltrey and The Who, the kids are not alright.
There’s a major strain on the mental health of children during COVID-19 that’s bearing out in increased diagnoses of depression, anxiety, and suicide attempts and acts.
This hit home recently when Northbrook lost one of its sons, a beloved and decorated high school senior, who took his own life.
Childhood and adolescence are stages of growth and discovery characterized by innocence, awkwardness, raging hormones, and identity development, to name a few.
But all of this is stunted right now for kids.
WGN interviewed Dr. Jennifer Hoffmann, an emergency medicine pediatrician with Lurie Children’s Hospital, who reported the following:
“Emergency department visits we are seeing for mental health conditions among youth have increased dramatically. We know that children are facing increased social isolation and losses of their usual sources of support such as their peers, their teachers, or their coaches. And many children are no longer able to access their usual sources of mental health care.”
When this story was published on November 30, emergency room doctors at Lurie were seeing a 50% increase in mental health visits. This was before COVID deaths in the U.S. hit 400,000, before the Capitol riot, and before we felt a little “safer” than we do now.
Parents’ mental health is at risk, too, and you can bet their symptoms are rubbing off on their children.
George Bernard Shaw famously said, “Youth is wasted on the young,” but the pandemic is stealing youth faster than the young can waste it.
But hope is the counter punch to despair, and hope is only possible when there’s help, and the good news is that help is available. Below are resources to guide you.
Pediatricians are good starting points because they can screen for depression and inquire about anxiety and trouble coping with stress. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that doctors often ask about family histories of mental illness and if other family members are currently experiencing similar symptoms. Your pediatrician can refer you to a behavioral specialist, and some practices have them on staff.
School Social WorkersCheck to see if your child’s school has social workers. These trained and licensed mental health professionals can provide support in individual or group settings for behavioral and academic issues, and they often work collaboratively with parents, teachers, and administrators. Students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP) can have a structured schedule of counseling sessions included.
Insurance Provider DirectoryYou can obtain an online list of behavioral health practitioners from your health insurance provider. Look for a therapist that specializes in kids/teens counseling, and other family services.
MedicaidMedicaid is the single largest payer for mental health services in the United States, and kids who are covered under the Children’s Health Insurance Program qualify for therapy and other mental health services at full coverage. Medicaid is administered on a state-by-state basis, and eligibility is determined by income thresholds.
Other ResourcesOther helpful resources include:
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Institute of Mental Health
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Psychology Today Therapist Directory and Psychiatrist Directory
About the Author, David TelismanI am a Writer and Content Creator with a passion for mental health awareness and advocacy. I have written extensively on the subject, in addition to serving clients in other verticals. I understand that you deserve to feel proud of how your content marketing looks and what it says, and I deliver by providing expert copywriting and digital marketing solutions.
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