Children’s Hospital Colorado gives tips on how kids can reset this summer after seeing continued increase in mental health concerns

KKTV 11 News this Morning
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 3:35 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - With summer approaching, Colorado doctors are hoping kids can get a mental health break after seeing a continued increase in mental health concerns.

11 News spoke with the Children’s Hospital Colorado, who says May is historically stressful for kids and families, due to end-of-year activities like testing, graduation or prom, as well as the uncertainty of the summer. This year, could be worse than in years past.

“When anybody is experiencing this chronic stress and even trauma like our kids have been going through, there’s going to be a backlash once some of the stress and trauma calms down for a longer period of time,” said Dr. Jessica Hawks of Children’s.

Children’s reports that mental health issues like depression and anxiety have doubled in the last two years. Suicide remains the number one cause of death in Colorado youth.

Across the Children’s Hospital Colorado pediatric system, from January to March 2022, there was a 47% increase in patients visiting emergency departments for behavioral health concerns compared to the same time period in 2021.

Children’s has some tips for how parents can help their kids take a mental health break this summer, and prepare for the next school year.

First, regularly check in with your children about how they are feeling. Also, have a schedule day to day throughout the summer, so your children have some structure.

“Any kind of transition can be difficult for kids, but our kids have experienced so many transition and have experienced so little stability over the last several years,” said Hawks.

Spend time with your family together, even outdoors, this summer. Also, doctors recommend continuing those lifestyle habits like a healthy diet, regular sleep and exercise, as physical well-being can potentially help improve mental health.

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