Ohio Hospital: COVID-19 Causing Rise In Mental Health Problems In Children


Health officials at Dayton Children’s Hospital are now seeing an increase of about 30 to 40% in identified mental health symptoms in children.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio health officials say the COVID-19 pandemic is linked to an increase in the number of children with mental health issues.

During a briefing hosted by Ohio Department of Health Director Dr Bruce Vanderhoff, Dayton Children’s Hospital Psychology Chief Mary Beth DeWitt discussed the impact of COVID -19 on child mental health in the Dayton area.

According to DeWitt, the hospital has reported an increase in needs, referrals and visits to outpatient psychology and psychiatry services since the start of the pandemic.

Before the pandemic, one in five children suffered from a mental health problem or learning disability – although DeWitt says less than half received adequate support for the condition.

Health officials at Dayton Children’s Hospital are now seeing an increase of about 30 to 40% in identified mental health symptoms in children during the pandemic. This has had a particular impact on children who have already experienced mental health problems or trauma, as well as poverty.

“What we’re finding is that this disruption has been difficult for many children in terms of their adaptation and overall adjustment,” DeWitt said.

According to DeWitt, Children’s Hospital in Dayton faces the challenge of providing children with the treatment they need, in part due to a lack of in-person services.

“What we also know is that children are resilient and are able to use the strengths they have in their day-to-day functioning and we can probably maximize these coping strategies in our children,” DeWitt said.

DeWitt suggests tracking down the children most at risk and helping them cope, “while acknowledging that this pandemic has been difficult for our mental health and well-being.” ”

Health officials have urged parents to get their child vaccinated since the FDA approved Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses for children ages 5 to 11. As of Thursday, more than 77,000 children in this age group have started the vaccination process.

“However, the increase in the number of cases – the increase in hospitalizations – that we are seeing now tells us that we still have more to do,” Vanderhoff said.

According to Vanderhoff, one in seven patients in Ohio hospitals currently has COVID-19. In the past 21 days, hospitalizations for the virus have increased 23%, with intensive care admissions increasing 15%. Health officials on Wednesday reported more than 6,300 new cases in a 24-hour period.

“This is the highest number we’ve seen since early October,” said Vanderhoff, who urged Ohioans to stay home before the holidays if they feel sick.

You can watch Thursday’s briefing in the player below:



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