The coronavirus pandemic and confinement dealt a heavy blow to the mental health of a lot of people. Both adults and children were locked up for weeks. Since then there is a huge mental health crisis among children and adolescents of today which is increasing at an alarming rate.
But the pandemic has not been the only thing that has disrupted the mental health of minors. A new study has concluded that increasingly there are more children going to the emergency room for having had suicidal thoughts. This trend, according to the results, goes back a long way and began before the coronavirus put the world in stand by. “One thing I want people to understand is that emergency department visits related to suicidal ideation were on the rise before the pandemic,” said study lead author Dr. Audrey Brewer, an attending pediatrician at Ann Children’s Hospital. and Robert H. Lurie of Chicago.
A study published in the journal Pediatrics used data from Illinois hospitals to analyze the number of children ages 5 to 19 who sought help in emergency departments between January 2016 and June 2021 for contemplating suicide. During this time, there were 81,051 visits to the emergency services on the part of young people had suicidal thoughts and needed help. It is estimated that a quarter of those visits turned into hospital stays.
In parallel, the study discovered that this type of visit increased by 59% from the 2016-17 academic year to 2019-21. Hospitalizations increased 57% between the fall of 2019 and the fall of 2020. And what’s worse: suicide death rates among children have increased by more than 50% in the last two decades.
“The new study sheds light on the silent epidemic of children with mental health problems that has been growing for decades and has only gotten worse,” said Dr. Warren Ng, director of the clinical services for child and adolescent psychiatry at Columbia University and president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
According to the expert, the society has been in crisis for a long timebut for some reason it has been ignored until the confinement came. From then on, reality could no longer be hidden: “The pandemic revealed what could no longer be ignored: the suffering of young people.”
Notice to parents: attention and communication
The fathersOf course they play a key role in raising children. So they have to watch for any signs and pay attention to mental health. They are the best experts on your children. “They have to keep an eye on your children and keep the lines of communication open; that’s really the most important thing,” said Dr. Eleni Maloutas, associate professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai in New York.
There are several reasons that lead minors to have these kinds of thoughts. Among the most common are anxietythe depression and the substance use in response to trauma, such as problems at home or school, online bullying, and pressure from social media.
Other signs, according to Maloutas, include: withdrawal, boredom, changes in sleep patterns, lack of interest in things once enjoyed, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, and feelings that life is not worth living. “These are the most important things to pay attention to,” the expert has asked, since all these circumstances leave signs that a child may be struggling with suicidal thoughts.