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Mental health crisis flares up in young children

The youngest patient under Jackie’s care, who recently attempted suicide, was 8 years old. She survived. But another child, also under 13, was unlucky and became an organ donor. Jackie said most of the children who came in after attempting suicide were girls who overdose on painkillers such as Tylenol, some of whom faced liver damage. Jackie called her husband and asked him to lock all Tylenol and Motrin in their home.

“I don’t want to think we are immune to these things,” she said.

Even before the epidemic Mental health crises are also emerging among children struggling with bullying. harassment eating disorder racism or an undiagnosed mental health condition, but children are now dealing with increasing stress, such as losing a family member due to COVID-19. Adaptation to distance school or anxiety about going back to school on your own

Heather C. Huszti, chief psychologist at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County in Orange County. “It’s almost like a pandemic that sprays gasoline on glowing embers,” California said. “We’ve never seen it this bad.”

for young children The pain can be felt endlessly.

“It’s like ‘This is my life now. Do I have anything to look forward to?’” Dr Huszti said, “because they can’t think long term.”

CHOC, where Dr. Huszti works, has the only inpatient psychiatric center in Orange County that accepts children under 12 years of age in one of the center’s 18 beds. Children must be a threat to themselves, now or imminently, to others. When the center first opened in 2018, about 10 percent of children under 12 years old. By 2020, that number began to increase. And now it’s more than twice that, Dr Huszti said.

“We have some days where all the children in this unit are under 12,” she said.

National data show similar patterns. in november The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published a study that compared how often children come to the U.S. emergency room for mental health reasons with other types of concerns. The agency found that between April and October 2020, there was a 24 percent increase in the proportion of mental health emergency department visits for children ages 5 to 11 compared to the same period in 2019.

The problem appears to be particularly dire among girls. Between 2019 and 2020, the proportion of mental health-related emergency department visits for girls under 18 was higher than boys of the same age, the CDC reported.

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