ERs are being overwhelmed by urgent youth mental care
Every year, approximately half a million children with mental or behavioral health conditions are evaluated in emergency departments. That number has dramatically increased over the past decade and in particular the last few years.
This past week three influential groups, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the Emergency Nurses Association released a joint statement pleading for more support and resources as the number of children and teenagers with mental health concerns are overwhelming emergency departments nationwide.
The joint policy statement recommended several courses of action:
- Develop community-based teams that can respond to pediatric mental health crises in schools, doctors’ offices, and homes.
- Add pediatric mental health professionals to emergency departments.
- Support emergency department staff with information specific to groups at high risk for mental health concerns: victims of abuse, post-traumatic stress, depression, and LGBTQ youth.
We at The Peace Alliance have been concerned about these trends and continue to advocate for even broader mental health support policies through our peacebuilding cornerstones and Blueprint for Peace. But we feel these outlined steps will be useful and deserve our support.