As the pandemic continues, health leaders and child advocates are voicing concerns for the children’s mental health crisis affecting kids of all ages.
Whether it was the disruptions to learning in school, to stress at home as families face pandemic-related hardships, child mental health doctors and advocates said there’s a lot of work to be done to address this crisis.
Dayton Children’s Hospital is seeing more children in need of mental health services.
“As an organization, I believe we are seeing what the nation is seeing, which is an increase in need, an increase in referrals, an increase in visits across our continuum of care,” chief of child psychology at Dayton Children’s Hospital Dr. Mary Beth DeWitt said.
DeWitt said there’s been a 30 to 40% increase in symptoms being identified in children.
While much of the pandemic has drawn attention to the mental health of school-age children, advocates with Groundwork Ohio are also concerned about kids who are in their early years.
“We’re extremely concerned about our babies and toddlers because soon they will be manifesting the symptoms, whether it’s when they enter the kindergarten classroom, or later in life, like we’re experiencing in our older youth right now,” Gutierrez said.