st.petersburg, florida – Pediatric mental health emergency room visits are increasing rapidly in the United States, according to a study released this week by the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study found that between 2015 and 2020, pediatric mental health ER visits increased by 8% each year. All other visits increased by 1.5% each year.
Although mental health return visits increased by more than 6% annually, the percentage of mental health ER visits with return visits remained stable.
Related: More children are coming to hospital with suicidal thoughts, new report finds
However, the study states, “The significant increase in the number of recurrent lives remains a concern, as it overwhelms existing models of care and worsens outcomes for ER patients.”
Jennifer Katzenstein, Ph.D., co-director of the Center for Behavioral Health at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, said the data isn’t surprising, but it’s worrisome.
“My immediate reaction was that it was similar to what I saw here at Johns Hopkins All Children,” she said. We are seeing an increase in patient visits to the emergency room for things like significant disruptive behavior, and similar repeat visits.”
The study included more than 200,000 children from 38 children’s hospitals.
more: Psychologists struggle to provide needed care as demand for mental health services rises
“This is a significant concern, not just for myself, but for our organizations, our communities, and our state,” Katzenstein said. I know it continues, and that we continue to struggle with the right interventions, staffing, and providers available for our children.Here at Johns Hopkins All, there are many community initiatives and initiatives. Yes, we will continue to work to meet the needs of children.”
She said that from 2019 to 2021, the number of children acting bakers on All Children’s has doubled.
“We were in a mental health, really big crisis before the pandemic, and the pandemic exacerbated what we already knew,” she said.
Katzenstein said families often don’t know when to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems or can’t seek the services they need. She said the only time they really want services is when it reaches crisis levels.
She recommended sitting with the kids at least once a week to check in.
read: Living trauma drives Tampa Bay’s Crisis Center CEO’s passion to help others
“You should be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety and mental health concerns. This includes feeling irritable, hopeless, anxious, nervous or worried, stressed, You should also pay attention to things like not being able to participate in activities you used to enjoy, changes in your clothes, changes in your sleep or appetite, self-care, showering, and bathing as consistently as you used to. Sometimes it’s not,” Katzenstein said.
She said there was no single reason for the rise, but rather a combination of factors.
“Not only the pandemic, but also the increasing gun violence, the increasing cyberbullying on social media, the impact of social media, the constant internet use of children, climate change concerns, and more stressors and burdens. I hear from adolescents that they are worried about their future in a way past generations have not,” Katzenstein said.
She said All Children’s focuses on comprehensive care, including mental health screenings at pediatrician clinics and intensive outpatient services by a team of doctors. She advises calling 911 or going to the nearest ER if you or your child are in danger.
If you or someone you love is suffering, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Crisis Center provides a civilian or veteran with free, confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-8255Or text HOME to 741-741 (Crisis Text Line).
click here About the signs and risk factors for suicide. Call 1-800-273-TALK for free, confidential emotional support.