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National organizations declare state of emergency on mental health

Posted at 8:32 PM, Oct 27, 2021

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), and Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) have come together to declare a national emergency on child and adolescent mental health.

According to the AAP, they are experiencing soaring rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal behavior because of the pandemic, and the ongoing struggle for racial justice is contributing to this mental health concern.

The CDC reports that between February and March in 2021, suicide attempts were up 51 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

Now the American Academy of Pediatrics and other national organizations have declared a national state of emergency with the rising statistics.

Angela Kately Eaglin, mother and mental health clinician, says she believes the amount of deaths during the pandemic, as well as the fear of the unknown for the future, brings anxiety to some.

“Having family members and friends getting ill and die. It’s the unknown. When is it our turn? Are we going to be next? Because we’re not vaccinated or even if we are vaccinated we can still get ill. So the unknown is taking a toll on youth and adolescence, especially because the adults they may be going to don’t have the answers,” Eaglin said.

Eaglin also says she believes mental health has affected communities of color because of injustices.

“I’m definitely concerned for my black child. I’m just doing all that I can personally and professionally to advocate for that, and collectively with others in the meantime, in hopes for a change soon,” Eaglin said.

Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Play Therapist Amy Romero says kids need to be active in interacting with each other; she adds that she believes misinformation or not receiving enough information on the pandemic played a role in the mental health crisis.

She also says staying active and interacting with people more will relieve some of those tensions.

“Exercise is a great way to relieve stress. Getting back into doing hobbies and things you love to do connecting with friends and family not just through screens because that does take away a bit of that human connection,” Romero explained.

The AAP, AACAP, and CHA are calling for advocacy of increased federal funding to improve mental health screening, diagnosis, and treatment to appropriately address everyone’s mental health needs.

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