Who Cares for the Mental Health of Children and Adolescents?

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

Children and young people can be affected by very different mental health problems. This was recently confirmed by the American Academy of Pediatrics[1]  (AAP), who announced a national emergency in the mental health of children, which has been mostly affected by the Covid-19 situation.

According to the AAP[2]  publication, in 2018 suicide became the main cause of death of young people between the ages of 10 and 24, by 2020 this situation increased by 51%. Additionally, in October 2020, visits by children between the ages of 5 and 11 to the mental health emergency department increased by 24% and for youth between the ages of 12 and 17, by 31%.

The conditions that affects this population are mostly learning and developmental disabilities, autism, risk of substance abuse, anxiety, conduct disorder (CD), depression, attention deficit, hyperactivity, Tourette Syndrome, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)[3], among others.

In general, even knowing that 1 in 5 children suffer from an emotional disorder or behavior disorder, unfortunately, only 20% of them receive attention for their emotional well-being[4] . Why?

The answer is that many parents who seek help for their children in a general way argue that there is no adequate care model to care for minors. For example, there are few professionals in the area where they live, they have to wait in a long waiting list for an appointment, their insurance coverage is low, the costs are high, among other limiting and difficult situations[5] . AAP recommend[6]  supporting effective school-based models of mental health care, accelerate the integration of mental health care in primary care pediatrics, strengthen efforts to reduce the risk of suicide in children and adolescents, and promote and pay for trauma-informed care services, among other remedies to this critical social issue.


 [1]https://www.aap.org/en/advocacy/child-and-adolescent-healthy-mental-development/aap-aacap-cha-declaration-of-a-national -emergency-in-mental-health-child-and-adolescent /   






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