Children and teens have seen an increase in anxiety, depression, and thoughts of self-harm due to the isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns.
Those same lockdowns are keeping these young people from getting the help they need, The Associated Press reported.
“With schools closed, routines disrupted and parents anxious over lost income or uncertain futures, children are shouldering new burdens many are unequipped to bear. And with surging numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, bed space is even scarcer,” the outlet reported. “By early fall, many Massachusetts ERs were seeing about four times more children and teens in psychiatric crisis weekly than usual, said Ralph Buonopane, a mental health program director at Franciscan Hospital for Children in Boston.”
“I’ve been director of this program for 21 years and worked in child psychiatric services since the 1980s and it is very much unprecedented,” Buonopane told the outlet.
Emergency Room visits for non-coronavirus-related issues declined at the onset of the pandemic, the AP reported, as people avoided hospitals for fear of catching the virus. At the same time, mental health-related ER visits increased for children to more than during the same period last year. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found the increase, suggested it may have been due to kids staying away from the ER last year.
More from the AP:
Claire Brennan Tillberg’s 11-year-old daughter was one of those kids who sought care. The Massachusetts girl has autism, depression and anxiety, and has been hospitalized twice in recent months after revealing that she’d had suicidal thoughts. The second time, in September, she waited a week in an ER before being transferred to a different hospital. The first time, in July, the wait was four days.
She’d been hospitalized before, but Tillberg said things worsened when the pandemic hit and her new school and therapy sessions went online. Suddenly the structure and rituals that many children with autism thrive on were gone.
“She’d never met the teacher, never met the kids,” said Tillberg, a psychotherapist. “She felt more isolated, more and more like things aren’t getting better. Without the distraction of getting up and going to school or to camp … sitting at home with her own thoughts all day with a computer has allowed that to worsen.”
As The Daily Wire has reported, numerous reports and studies have shown mental health issues becoming worse during the coronavirus lockdown. CDC numbers released in late October found a 26.5% jump in “excess” deaths for people aged 25-44, an increase the center said was not linked to COVID-19.
“Since such young people are at very low risk for COVID-19 fatality — 20-49-year-olds have a 99.98% chance of surviving the virus, per CDC data — it has been suggested that the shocking increase in deaths is largely attributable to deaths of ‘despair,’ or deaths linked to our ‘cure’ for the disease: lockdown measures,” The Daily Wire’s Amanda Prestigiacomo reported.
In one county in Wisconsin, the number of people under 24 who committed suicide increased by 90% over last year.
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