Tag Archives: mental illness

The Children’s Mental Health Crisis: How Social Isolation in Childhood Alters Brain Development and Function 

Last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), and Children’s Hospital Association declared a national emergency in children’s mental health. Exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, mounting challenges across the spectrum of childcare have deepened disparities in pediatric primary care and are particularly evident in racial and ethnic minority groups. At the same time, pandemic conditions have led many children to lose their caregivers and forced them into increased social isolation – all of which has culminated in a mental health crisis among the youngest of the population.

Current statistics reveal the urgency of the problem at hand. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emergency department visits for mental health emergencies rose by 24% in children aged between 5 and 11 years and by 31% in children aged between 12 and 17 years during March through October of 2020. In early 2021, emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts increased by 51% among girls aged between 12 and 17 years as compared to data from the same period in 2019.

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The Lasting Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Bracing for the “Mental Health Tsunami”

In addition to the widespread socio-economic distress, civil unrest, and political destabilization, yet another wave of COVID-19 is weighing down the already overwhelming burden of the ongoing pandemic on public health. The viral outbreak has taken a tremendous toll on the global healthcare system and physical wellbeing of millions across the globe. Yet further still, it has contributed to the festering of a mental health epidemic that will long outlast the pandemic environment. ”

An array of additional risk factors is compounding the mental health challenges facing the global population, ranging from unemployment and underemployment to increasing healthcare costs, childcare concerns, and mounting racial inequities. On top of this, mental healthcare services have become inaccessible to many individuals in the United States as COVID-19 restrictions shuttered facilities, suspended support groups, and moved many services to online platforms. The immense psychological burden has acute effects on public health, leading experts to forecast an impending “mental health tsunami” – one of the biggest post-pandemic issues facing the population in 2021 and the years to come.

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