Children's mental health has become national emergency amid pandemic, health experts declare

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone, and children are no exception. In fact, things have become so difficult for kids, a group of influential health experts declared a national emergency in children’s mental health.

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American Academy of Pediatrics President Dr. Lee Beers noted that while childhood mental health concerns were already on the rise, "over the course of the pandemic it’s become much worse, and it really has reached a point where we feel like something different needs to be done."

The declaration was published by the AAP, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association.

It cited research showing an increase in emergency department visits for mental health emergencies, an increase in suspected suicide attempts and data showing that more than 140,000 kids have experienced the death of a primary or secondary caregiver during the pandemic.

READ MORE: US details plans to roll out COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11

"This wasn’t a decision we took lightly," Beers explained, and now the group is urging action, including an increase in federal funding, improved access to telemedicine, support for effective models of school-based mental health care and more.

"Now with the decreases in services because of the pandemic but also the increase in need, those two things combined have really taken us to a crisis situation where there are children who really need help and support, but they can’t get it because the services just aren’t available," Beers said.

Parents like Ed Powell told FOX 5 more help sounds good to them.

"I think we need a lot more attention to kids’ mental health," he said, "especially with the strictures of the pandemic."


For more information about the national emergency declaration, you can click here.