Medical Associations Call for More Resources to Address Youth Mental Health Crisis
Emergency rooms nationwide are seeing an influx of children and teens experiencing mental health crises, a problem which has worsened since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Three medical associations have issued a policy statement alerting public attention to the problem and calling for more support and resources. According to the paper, limited resources in the community have led to emergency rooms becoming a safety net for families seeking mental health care. Doctors say that emergency rooms are not set up to handle this type of care and “already have challenges with being understaffed and under-resourced.” “The scope of this problem is really great,” said Dr. Mohsen Saidinejad, a professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles and lead author of the report. “But our ability to solve it is not there.”
The policy statement, published jointly by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the Emergency Nurses Association listed several recommendations including: develop school-based screening and trainings for staff on how to recognize mental and behavioral issues related to children and youth; expand the use of telehealth to identify and divert low-acuity patients; and advocate for the expansion of community-based behavioral services.