On Thursday, May 20, Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) partnered with Axios on a virtual event highlighting the effect of the pandemic on children's mental health. Speakers included Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Harold Koplewicz, M.D., of Child Mind Institute and CHA President Amy Knight.
They unpacked what childhood mental health will look like after the COVID-19 pandemic, how current systems have exacerbated existing inequalities, and what policymakers and practitioners can do to create change.
Axios Senior Vice President Jon Otto hosted a View from the Top segment with Amy Knight.
Watch the entire event or catch Knight’s interview which begins at 11:23.
“Fifty percent of mental illness develops in its early stages in childhood,” says Knight. “I think we missed that opportunity to intervene for a long time not because we didn’t know, the science just wasn’t there. As we’ve been able to treat kids earlier to work in areas of prevention and surveillance, we’ve also destigmatized behavioral health services to some extent and children who are struggling.”
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 50% of all mental illness begins by age 14. “Our aim is to bring attention to it and make sure policymakers think specifically about children when they think about behavioral health,” says Knight.
To continue the conversation, CHA has drafted "Strengthening Kids' Mental Health Now," a legislative proposal aimed at helping all children access mental health services at the time they need them. It would strengthen the nation's mental health care system for children and youth.
CHA encourages children's hospitals to share these legislative recommendations with their members of Congress.