Before the COVID-19 pandemic, mental, emotional and behavioral health in children had reached a crisis level.
- 1 in 5 children and youth experience a mental health condition in a given year
- 6% of children ages 6 to 17 have been diagnosed with serious emotional or behavioral difficulties like autism
- Admissions and emergency department visits for suicide attempts doubled at children’s hospitals from 2008 to 2015
With school closures due to the pandemic, children and teens experienced greater isolation and increased family stress. Severe mental health conditions such as suicide ideation, self-injury and substance abuse disorder began to increase. Children’s hospitals emergency departments are overwhelmed with families in need of immediate help.
There is urgent need to address the behavioral health needs of children through pediatric settings, partnerships with schools and community-based organizations and advocacy for more supportive public policies.
Children’s hospitals continue to highlight the need for immediate federal, state and local support to help providers meet the demand for services, exacerbated by the pandemic.
Behavioral Health Summit
The summit offered learning opportunities to address strategies to improve advocacy, prevention, early identification, timely diagnosis and creative approaches for effective treatment.