Youth mental health listed top emergency care concern

11 News this Morning at 6 am
Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 8:54 AM MDT|Updated: Apr. 17, 2023 at 10:12 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - The number one emergency care concern right now is youth mental health.

According to the Emergency Care Research Institute’s 2023 list of most important patient concerns, the pediatric mental health crisis is a top patient safety threat.

“It is worrying because those mental health issues, depression, anxiety, they are serious and they are concerning because they can really impede not only someone’s social functioning but their mental functioning as well,” explained Jordan Bierbrauer, a clinical therapist with Thriveworks. “From being a therapist, being a supervisor up in the metro area, I would say that referrals have absolutely not slowed down in the slightest when it comes to pediatric mental health.”

Depression and anxiety rates in children had been slowly climbing previous to 2020 but accelerated at the start of the pandemic.

Other factors that cause depression and anxiety in juveniles include social media, mass violence, climate change, and natural disasters.

According to the CDC, the average weekly emergency visit for juveniles suspected of suicide were 39% high in the winter 2021 than winter 2019.

Anxiety and depression rates in kids 3-17 increased by close to 30% from 2016-2020.

“If anxiety and depression are caught immediately and they are addressed and coping skills are established and a safe space is a established so a child can express themselves, you can limit the facts of them, absolutely, but a lot of times depression and anxiety can go under the radar,” said Bierbrauer, adding that parents or guardians should watch for any sudden changes in their kid’s behaviors. “If they start seeing their child isolating or if they’re becoming more irritable than usual or losing interest in things that were usually very stimulating or exciting to the child, that is a red flag for sure.”

Above all else, make sure you listen to you kids if they express feelings of hopelessness or sadness. On the other side, if you are feeling anxious or depressed, reach out for help.

“It is okay to ask for assistance when you don’t know how to navigate and it’s never actually too late to do so,” explained Bierbrauer. “You have value to give to the earth, to the world and your life is important. Achieving a life worth living is also important for every individual and they can absolutely get it assistance with doing so.”

If you or someone you know needs help, the National Suicide Hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 988.