While mental and behavioral health conditions can and do occur at any age, children and youth are uniquely vulnerable. Stigma, lack of awareness and inadequate access to resources can delay care by weeks, months or even years. Mental health disorders diagnosed during adolescence often arose years earlier during childhood.
Furthermore, during the COVID-19 pandemic, children and families have experienced tremendous stress driven by social isolation, financial insecurity and grief, exacerbating the crisis in children’s mental health. As a result, children’s hospitals have seen a steep rise in the number of emergency department (ED) and inpatient visits for suicidal thoughts or self-harm, with visits more than doubling since 2016.
By investing in prevention, surveillance and treatment, children will grow up healthier and develop the skills they need to go on to more successful and fulfilling lives. Learn more about children's mental health and how children's hospitals are addressing these challenges in this detailed fact sheet.