Children in Mental-Health Crisis Surge into Hospital E.R.s

While anxiety, depression and other mental-health conditions started to climb among children before Covid, they soared during the isolation and disruption of the pandemic. The increased demand for treatment exacerbated a shortage of available mental-health services. This has left desperate families pouring into emergency departments that legally can turn no one away. The influx of young mental-health patients is overcrowding emergency departments and delaying treatment across the country at both specialized children’s hospitals and general hospitals. Major pediatric and emergency medicine organizations issued a public warning to hospitals and doctors in August, stating that the lack of space and available staff is forcing children who need psychiatric care to wait too long in E.R.s.

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