RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – The past few years have been incredibly trying for teen mental health.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and several other major medical groups have declared a national emergency in children’s mental health earlier this year.
In July, the United States will have its own number for people to call for suicide problems – 988.
Hospitals in the area have at times faced bed shortages, scrambling to get mental health care for children.
Dr Walid Fawaz, director of the child psychiatry unit at Chippenham Hospital, says the unit is still busy.
“Most of the time we are full. Even during the holidays, even during the Christmas period, even during the summer. And that’s what’s really unusual to see happen, but I think the level of anxiety, the level of depression, the level of stress with COVID, on the family…it just makes it worse,” did he declare.
Fawaz says parents have been around their children more and perhaps pay more attention to them.
Teenagers have typical balanced worries in addition to concerns about COVID and isolation.
“The number of depressions is on the rise,” Fawaz said. “The anxiety numbers are on the rise. The number of self-harms is on the rise. So I’m sure the number of suicides is on the rise. “
According to the CDC, more than a third (37%) of high school students reported experiencing poor mental health during the pandemic, and 44% said they had constantly felt sad or hopeless over the past year.
Fawaz says parents know their children better and urges them to watch for changes, such as falling grades, anger, outbursts and even changes in hygiene.
“I think it’s very important to know what causes the change,” Fawaz said. “You know. Why the grades are down when they never have been before. Is there bullying at school? So any concentration issues, any attention issues, just to give you an idea of what is going on.
And he says to figure out if you need help and ask yourself if it’s an emergency, like cases of self-harm or if your child is talking about hurting themselves.
For less emergent changes, start with the pediatrician. See if you need a psychiatrist or a therapist.
Fawaz also says that some employers also offer family counseling programs. There are local family programs that can support your family.
It encourages families to use the school counselor paediatrician.
In Chippenham they have the partial hospitalization programs.
Fawaz says watch the Virginia Medical Health Access Program if you need help quickly. With this program, you can pick up the phone and bring the child psychiatrist on board.
Resources are also available from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
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