Burlington, Vermont (WCAX) – Children in Vermont through age 8 are experiencing anxiety and depression and are taking action.
This is according to Building Bright Futures’ 2022 Vermont report. From 2016 to 2021, he will only account for 8% of children of that age who will have problems, according to the report.
So why did Vermont’s numbers jump from nearly 9% to nearly 14% in just two years? Ask educators and mental health professionals what’s going on.
Data about experiences from ages 3 to 8 are collected from parents and caregivers. In support of these findings, Cheryl Wilcox of the Department of Mental Health said the number of children receiving emergency services increased from her 198 to her 262 last year.
Every behavioral and mental health case is unique, but experts agree the pandemic has played a role.
“It was challenging for us, as it is for adults. , I feel higher,” Wilcox said.
A staffing crisis plagues the state’s mental health system, with more than 1,000 vacancies in the mental health workforce, and positions ranging from school interventionist to clinician in state facilities.
“It just makes it harder to get in to do more preventative work. So you see more challenges and more behavior in children,” says Wilcox.
“The challenges are not behind us. Not yet. But I also want everyone to consider that children are resilient. Right? Families are resilient.” University of Vermont Medical Dr. Jeremiah Dickerson of the Center said:
Dr. Dickerson says Vermont is open to talking about mental health topics, and he suspects that’s why more states outnumber countries.
He agreed that there is an increasing trend of children needing mental health services, especially because of certain local problems such as isolation and access to services.
John Bratco is the new principal of Bristol Elementary School. The school, like many schools in the state, has experienced instances of students having behavioral and emotional problems in recent years.
By November of this year, 84% of students reported either no explosions or only one. His 5% of students had 6 or more of her seizures.
According to him, a major focus of education, especially post-corona, is to develop trauma-based practices to support the social and emotional well-being of students.
“Adapt and say how to move to a more positive mindset, how to identify mental health before it escalates to that level, etc. And a brighter future focused on younger ages.” I think the report is a starting point academically,” Bratko said.
He adds that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with each situation and that schools have interventions and support.
“Not only do we need to support our children in school, but we also need to support them after they get home. How do we do that?” said Bratko.
Responding at the statewide level, Vermont’s Department of Mental Health said there are ongoing conversations at the state capitol about supporting school-based services.
There are also funds to maintain current mental health staff and state workgroups focused on recruitment.
Understaffing plagues Vermont’s mental health system at a time when many are seeking help.
As of October 2022, there are 1,077 staff vacancies out of approximately 6,000 positions, with a vacancy rate of 18%.
The intensity of work and the pandemic can leave employees switching jobs exhausted, said Cheryl Wilcox of the mental health department.
“We’re focused on how we keep people, and we’ve raised money out the door to help with some retention. And then we’ve also focused on workgroups This is a whole other section of our work on how to recruit and retain in human services because it’s an incredibly rewarding career and people are really committed to their work. But it’s also a challenge,” Wilcox said.
Some of these positions include those intervening in schools because state data shows that behavioral problems in children are on the rise.
Copyright 2023 WCAX. all rights reserved.