COVID-19 updates: ‘National emergency’ declared on children’s mental health – ABC News

A national state of emergency for children’s mental health has been declared by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Children’s Hospital Association.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a serious toll on children’s mental health as young people continue to face physical isolation, ongoing uncertainty, fear and grief,” the groups said in a statement Tuesday. “Even before the pandemic, mental health challenges facing children were of great concern, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated them.”

Mental health ER visits jumped 24% for kids ages 5 to 11 between March and October 2020, the groups said. Mental health ER visits skyrocketed 31% for kids ages 12 to 17.

From early 2019 to early 2021, there was a more than 50% jump in ER visits for suspected suicide attempts for girls ages 12 to 17, they said.

More than 140,000 kids in the U.S. have lost a primary or secondary caregiver during the pandemic, the organizations added.

-ABC News’ Anne Flaherty